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Saul Halpert Papers, 1960-2000
MSS 032  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Saul Halpert Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1960-2000
    Collection number: MSS 032
    Creator: Halpert, Saul
    Extent: 3 legal boxes, 1 half-legal box, 3 letter boxes, and 3 film canisters

    3+ linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: Collection consists of the files, papers, and kinescopes of Saul Halpert, working journalist in the Los Angeles area from 1946 to 1999. Topics covered range from local to international politics, with a significant project on Los Angeles school integration.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated to the Library by Saul Halpert upon his retirement as a journalist in 1999.


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Saul Halpert Papers, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.


    Saul Halpert was born in Albany New York on September 22, 1922. He attended the local school until 1938. After his mother's death he came with his father to Los Angeles, and the family settled in the Temple Street district, which at that time was a largely Jewish neighborhood. Halpert attended Belmont High School and graduated in 1940. He then enrolled in Los Angeles City College on Vermont Avenue for two years and earned an AA degree in 1942.
    Entering the Army in 1942 for 3 ½ years, he qualified for and was assigned to the army's engineering school, Army Specialist Training Project (ASTP). He was also accepted into the Officer Candidate School (OCS) and served as a 2nd Lieutenant. While in the army he and Ruth Levin were married in 1943. They had met and become friends in high school five years previously. Upon leaving the service, he decided that he preferred journalism to engineering. Job hunting for the first time, he became a cub reporter with the City News Service in downtown Los Angeles for a year, and for another year, at the Huntington Park Signal. He then moved toward broadcast journalism.
    In 1948 he got a job with radio station KECA, which later became KABC, and which was owned by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). After two years in radio, he transferred to television and helped found the News Department at Channel 7, ABC TV. He remained there for sixteen years, until 1966. While working he earned a B.A. in Social Studies at USC. In 1960 Halpert was the first broadcast journalist to receive a one year graduate fellowship from the Haynes Foundation, prior winners had all been print journalists. He did his fellowship in Mass Media at UCLA where he earned a masters degree in Journalism. In 1978 he was the only television reporter, among twenty journalists, selected from throughout the country to attend the prestigious Harvard seminar on "Trends in American Education through the 1980s", given by the Education Writers Association. In the course of four decades in the Los Angeles market, Halpert was a writer, reporter and broadcaster of news and documentary programs for all three network TV stations - channels 2, 4, and 7. He received the prestigious designation of Journalist of the Year awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists and has also won awards from the Radio and TV News Association, the American Political Science Association, and the California Teachers Association.
    Throughout his more than 40 years with the broadcasting networks, Saul Halpert was an active Union member, serving at various times as shop steward for the unions representing newsroom workers: the Writers Guild of America, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
    In 1965 Halpert was a member of the Strike Committee that organized the first nationwide AFTRA strike by TV reporters working at all three networks. While not entirely successful, this historic walkout did establish some basic precedents for writing wages and working conditions into union contracts. In the late 1960s he was one of the founders of a news staffers caucus in the Los Angeles local of AFTRA. That local won national support for the first AFTRA master contract with the networks, establishing the principle of job security. In all the years until then, AFTRA members working in the network newsrooms were at the mercy of management, subject to firing without cause at the end of any 13-week work cycle.
    Appointed political editor at KNBC TV channel 4 in 1979, Halpert conducted a weekly public affairs interview program featuring a broad range of issues from race relations in Los Angeles to national issues and international affairs. Political assignments included coverage of both Democratic and Republican national conventions, presidential election campaigns and the Los Angeles school desegregation controversy. In 1982 he was moderator of the station's Emmy award winning interview program Channel 4 News Conference, which was also awarded a Golden Mike from the Television News Association of Southern California.
    After leaving his last corporate job in 1989, Halpert lectured, served as a panelist on programs dealing with the role of mass media in the political process, and worked as a freelance writer, media consultant, and instructor in broadcast journalism at both USC and UCLA. Halpert's articles on media/political issues were published in Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists; Emmy, the official journal of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Los Angeles Times, and others.

    Scope and Content

    The files consist of a large number of newspaper and magazine clippings, personal notes, drafts and final scripts for the "on air" presentation of the material. Of particular note is the group of files devoted to the "School Integration Project of 1976", including final scripts for the broadcast. These cover the "Gitelson" decision (the rejection by Judge Alfred Gitelson of the Los Angeles School District's original desegregation plan), appeal of the decision, as well as a 1979 update on the issue.
    The majority of the scripts or transcripts in the collection come from regular daily or weekly reports and are loosely organized by date aired. However, scripts of several special reports on Police-Press Relations, Commuter Transportation, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Freedom of the Press, were separated out by Halpert, and have been made into their own series.
    There are five reels of kinescopes, movie film copies of television news programs, mostly focused on the Integration Project. The Los Angeles school desegregation controversy was a regular lead story on the TV news in the mid-1970s, and an issue in which Halpert took an active interest.
    This collection consists of the files of a working journalist and includes materials on stories and issues that he felt would be of particular interest to the researchers at the SCL. Other files remain in the workplaces and are the property of the respective news organizations.



    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Integration Project: The Dorothy Doyle Collection,
    Date: c. 1967-1978
    Physical Description: 7 linear feet
    Title: Integration Project: The Jackie Goldberg and Sharon Stricker Collection,
    Date: c. 1980-1985
    Physical Description: 2 2/3 linear feet