Newsreels were short documentary films that reported on news stories and current events that were common between the 1910s and the late 1960s. Newsreels were typically shown in movie theaters as part of larger programs that included cartoons, short features, and a feature film. An evening at the movies included much of the same programming that became common on television during the 1950s and 1960s, and with the rise of television newsreels gradually faded out.
In addition, in the 1930s and 1940s, many major cities had theaters that were dedicated to showing newsreels, so if a moviegoer wanted to approximate the 24/7 cable television news environment that we currently inhabit, they could spend the day there. Newsreels are important because they are often the only audiovisual record of current events from the pre-television era.
Below you'll find a selection of resources where you can find historic newsreels available online.
The decline of newsreels was accompanied by the rise of television news. Explore the resources below to find examples of broadcast television news from the 1960s through 2009 and beyond.