New York Public Radio recently completed a project to digitize early On the Media broadcasts from 1993-1996, courtesy of a METRO digitization grant. Over 200 hours of the seminal program, which investigates “how the media shapes our world view” are now freely available online.

The WNYC Archive’s collection of early On the Media broadcasts (1993-1996) is significant because it is both a profile and a chronicle of the media just before and during the infancy of the internet and digital age. It is also a critical compendium of discussions on many of the issues involving the media, journalism, and reporters that continue to resurface regardless of era. The show’s lively and provocative exchanges provided listeners with a captivating look at the inner workings of news operations while exploring the impact of decisions by editors, producers, and media executives on elections, public policy, and the shaping of public opinion and attitudes.

The program first went on air locally in February 1993 and nationally in October 1995 with host Alex S. Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-awarded journalist known for for covering the press for The New York Times. Among his guests were White House correspondent Eleanor Clift, media critic Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, author Ken Auletta, NBC-TV reporter Gabe Pressman, editor Abe Rosenthal of The New York Times, Tina Brown of The New Yorker, columnist Molly Ivins, critic Stanley Crouch, TV Nation’s Michael Moore, NPR’s Scott Simon, and Joan Conner, Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism.

Topics covered include coverage of the World Trade Center bombing, the Rodney King trial, President Clinton’s first 100 days, and gay and lesbian issues. On the Media also covered the role of the press in creating scapegoats, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, public cynicism, the alternative press, and the current state of investigative reporting. The series was produced by WNYC in association with the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University, and later with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Link to the collection: https://www.wnyc.org/series/on-the-media-1993-2000

For more information on METRO Digitization Grant Funding opportunities, see https://metro.org/services/digital-services.