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Finding Aid to the The Working Group Records
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Collection Overview
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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: California Working, 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.
37.5 Cubic Feet (30 cartons)
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center 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.
Collection is open for research.