Syracuse University to receive Ted Koppel Collection

June 10, 2011

Ted Koppel, original anchor of the groundbreaking ABC News program “Nightline,” has agreed to make a donation of videotapes and other items he has prepared or received during his career in broadcast journalism to the Syracuse University Library.

Koppel began his broadcasting career at SU in 1956, ultimately serving as SU radio station WAER’s program director from 1959-60. Now, 51 years later, the largest body of his work, including programs that ran in the late 1950s on WAER, is finding its home on the Syracuse campus.

“Ted Koppel is one of the world’s most decorated journalists because throughout his career he consistently has made a real difference in the world with his work,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “Establishing this new repository where he launched his unprecedented career assures that this treasure trove will continue to make a difference for generations of researchers and students to come.”

The donation consists primarily of videotapes, and also includes certain correspondence, photographs, cartoons, awards and notebooks chosen by Koppel, including those from Koppel’s time as a Vietnam War correspondent. The principal component of the donation is a complete collection of videotapes of “Nightline” and “The Koppel Report, ” news programs that were originally broadcast by ABC News. The Koppel Collection will represent a significant addition to the Library’s resources on the history of broadcast journalism.

The Koppel Collection will be housed in the Library’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), where an archivist will commence the task of processing and inventorying the collection being donated. The “Nightline” program videotapes will first be digitized, and then will be preserved in collaboration with the University’s Information Technology and Services division.

The Library will work closely with the other components of the University to ensure that the materials in the Koppel Collection are available for use by faculty, scholars and researchers, especially in the fields of broadcast journalism, history, international relations and speech. Digital video and other digitized materials will be made available for teaching and research to classes through the University’s course management system. Access to Koppel Collection materials will also be provided through the SCRC reading room.

“We are grateful to Ted Koppel for selecting Syracuse University as the recipient of his archive of videotapes and other materials selected by him from his illustrious career. The Koppel Collection will be an extraordinarily rich resource for students and scholars in a variety of disciplines, especially the Newhouse School,” said Suzanne Thorin, dean of libraries and University librarian.

Edward James “Ted” Koppel, born Feb. 8, 1940 in Lancashire, England, began his broadcasting career at WMCA Radio in New York City. He joined ABC Radio News in 1963 and moved to television in 1966. During his 42-year tenure at ABC News, Koppel served as anchor of “The ABC Saturday Night News,” chief diplomatic correspondent, Vietnam War correspondent and Hong Kong bureau chief. As anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline” from its debut in 1980 until late 2005, Koppel covered every major news story and presidential campaign for over 25 years. Koppel left “Nightline” in November 2005 and subsequently worked as managing editor for a series of news and public affairs programs that were cablecast on the Discovery Channel. He is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio, an author of newspaper and magazine opinion pieces and a guest speaker.

Over his 50 year career in broadcasting, Koppel has earned every major industry honor, including 42 Emmy awards; eight George Foster Peabody awards; 12 Columbia-duPont awards, including the gold award created especially to honor the weeklong series that “Nightline” did on and from South Africa in 1985; 11 Overseas Press Club awards—more than any other journalist; two George Polk awards; and two Sigma Delta Chi awards, given by the Society of Professional Journalists. Other awards include the Gabriel Personal Achievement award from the National Catholic Association of Broadcasters and Communicators, and selection as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Republic of France.

Koppel holds a bachelor’s degree in speech from SU, and a master’s degree in mass communications research and political science from Stanford University. In addition, Koppel has received more than 20 honorary degrees from universities in the United States.