The Working Group records consist of production, research, outreach, and financial materials generated by The Working Group
(TWG), an independent media production company based in Oakland, California. The bulk of the records span the years 1991 to
1999 and were created during the production of three television series related to working people:
We Do the Work, and
Livelyhood. The records document the activities of the organization as it produced programs for broadcast on public television. Also
included are materials created in the production of documentaries for client organizations, in particular, the Public Broadcasting
Service (PBS) documentary
Test of Courage: The Making of a Firefighter.
The Working Group (TWG) is an Oakland-based non-profit media company founded in late 1987 with the goal of producing media
focused on labor issues told from the perspective of the worker. TWG first created a local, half-hour news magazine format
show, California Working, produced by Ed Herzog, Patrice O'Neill, and Rhian Miller. Later renamed We Do the Work, the series featured several guest hosts, but eventually Will Durst, comedian and political commentator, became the regular
host. The series included occasional documentary specials and also featured the work of other independent filmmakers.
The Working Group focused outreach efforts on individual PBS stations all across the country, convincing programming directors
at each local affiliate to air the series. Such local distribution often resulted in irregular scheduling and broadcasts being
played in non-primetime slots. After gaining positive recognition with We Do the Work, The Working Group approached PBS with a proposal to create a national primetime program, thus guaranteeing it a larger audience
and broader exposure in national media markets. With this in mind, The Working Group producers developed Livelyhood, a series that differed in format, scope, frequency, and tone from We Do the Work. The program, which ran for three seasons and was hosted by Will Durst, examined the impact of globalization and the "new
economy" on American workers.
In December 1995, The Working Group screened Not in Our Town, a half-hour documentary focusing on the residents of Billings, Montana and the community's reaction to hate crimes in their
town. The documentary grew into a PBS series and sparked a national movement to combat hate and violence in communities all
over the world.
The Working Group also produced contract documentaries for PBS, unions, and other organizations.
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