Media Burn Archive collects, restores and distributes documentary video created by artists, activists and community groups. Media Burn is a project of the Fund for Innovative TV, which has been producing challenging documentary video and television since 1990.
    Our mission is to preserve audiovisual records of history and culture and to engage audiences with their creative reuse.
    The national significance of the collection of more than 7,000 videos has been recognized with grants from the National Archives, the “Save America’s Treasures” program of the NEH, the NEA, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Your support is a critical part of our success. Please donate today.
    The boxes of tapes in your basement or closet may be deteriorating much faster than you think. You will have no better chance of transferring them successfully and for a reasonable cost than today. Media Burn is a boutique footage transfer service that provides highly personalized attention to your project.

New Videos

  • Farewell to the Ultimate Cool Gent, Herb Kent

    Farewell to the Ultimate Cool Gent, Herb Kent

    Renowned giant of Chicago radio and larger than life personality Herb Kent died last Saturday, October 22, at the age of 88. Known as the “mayor of Bronzeville,” he grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing project and attended Hyde Park High School. Arguably, Kent‘s most influential position was from 1962 to 1970 at Chicago’s WVON. The station was and is an integral part of Chicago’s black community. Kent kept his thumb on the pulse of the community and was a … Continue reading

  • [Teen Street Performance #F4]

  • Tour Media Burn on Friday, October 7

    Tour Media Burn on Friday, October 7

    Go behind the scenes at Media Burn on Friday, October 7th as part of Chicago Open Archives Do you enjoy going behind-the-scenes to places the public is not normally allowed? Do you ever wonder what on earth we do all day at Media Burn? Now’s your chance to find out! Over thirty local archives, research centers, and cultural institutions in the Chicago area will offer special events open to members of the public on October 6-8, 2016.This year’s Chicago Open … Continue reading

  • Molly Ivins’ Biting Election Commentary is Still True

    Molly Ivins’ Biting Election Commentary is Still True

    “I don’t want an option on the ballot that says, ‘None of the Above,’ I want an option that says, ‘It makes me vomit.’”                                                                              -Molly Ivins, 1996 History, as we learned in high school, has a way of repeating itself. Molly Ivins (1944-2007) was … Continue reading

  • Bike Messenger Jack Blackfelt- A Fresh Look

    Bike Messenger Jack Blackfelt- A Fresh Look

    “I get paid good money to just be who I am: a freak on wheels.” -Jack Blackfelt We have more than 7000 videos in our archive.  Most portray interesting people at a particular moment in their lives.  One great thing about video is its ability for people to watch many years later and provide perspective about how they’ve changed. This is the first of these updates we will be doing. This update features footage of colorful bike messenger Jack Blackfelt that was … Continue reading

  • Little Village Youth dig into the Archive

    Little Village Youth dig into the Archive

    We’re so pleased to announce a brand new initiative that will use our videos in youth programs, both in-classroom and after school. Media Burn has been awarded a grant from the Chicago HIVE Fund for Connected Learning at the Chicago Community Trust. HIVE was seeded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is stewarded by Mozilla. Our project partners are the National Mexican Museum of Art, Yollocalli Arts Reach, the Chicago History Museum, The Lamp, and the … Continue reading

  • Introducing Our New Collections Portal

    Introducing Our New Collections Portal

    Some of you saw the article in ReelChicago celebrating ten years of mediaburn.org. We’re so proud of what we have achieved and our continuing efforts to make our website more accessible and engaging. For the last several years we have enjoyed hosting interns from the University of Michigan School of Information during their spring break. These interns have been responsible for many of the transformations in our website that have made it more modern and fun to use. This year, our Alternative … Continue reading

  • Inside the Clinton Command Center, DNC ’92

    Inside the Clinton Command Center, DNC ’92

    No presidential convention has been brokered since 1952, when both Vice President Dwight Eisenhower and Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson needed more than one ballot to get their party’s nominations. This year, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton arrived at their conventions with enough delegates to win. Still, the conventions have been anything but uneventful. Just as the Bernie Sanders people are a thorn in the side of the Hillary Clinton campaign, so was Jerry Brown a force that Bill Clinton’s … Continue reading