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“Texas Standard” produces oral history of UT Tower shooting in commemoration of 50th anniversary

UT/Marsha Miller

AUSTIN, Texas – June 30, 2016 – In observance of the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas Tower shooting, “Texas Standard,” the national daily news show of Texas, is producing “Out of the Blue: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting,” an hour-long radio oral history, five-part reporting series, companion website and a permanent oral history archive at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

On Monday, July 25, “Texas Standard” will devote its statewide, hour-long broadcast to stories from survivors of the University of Texas Tower shooting on Aug. 1, 1966. Many of these eyewitness stories have not been shared publicly until now.

“Texas Standard” has collected nearly 100 exclusive, first-person accounts of the shootings to paint a much broader picture of the events that took place 50 years ago.

“We cast a wide net and wanted to hear from anyone with a story related to the tower shooting – whether they were on campus that day or not,” said Laura Rice, executive producer for “Out of the Blue.” “We spoke with some of the people most involved in the day’s events – including those who were injured and the Austin Police officers who helped put the shooting to an end. With some help from the Texas Exes we were also able to reach many people who we found were affected by the shooting in unexpected ways.”

The title, “Out of the Blue,” refers to the blue sky on Aug. 1, 1966 from whence the shots came down on campus, and to the fact that no one had expected or heard of a school shooting such as this before.

In addition to the sound-rich oral history, hosted by award-winning journalist David Brown, “Texas Standard” will air a series of five stories focused on the lasting impact of the shooting. With the help of partner stations KUT Austin, KERA North Texas, Houston Public Media and San Antonio’s Texas Public Radio, the series will explore the shooting’s impact on campus security across the country, changes in the mental health field, the history of guns in Texas and more. These stories will air during “Texas Standard” on July 26-Aug. 1.

The companion website launches July 25 and will feature the oral history, along with longer excerpts of interviews from people who shared their stories.

“Out of the Blue” is being made possible with support from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which opened its archives to “Texas Standard” for the project and will maintain a permanent archive of the oral histories.

The public will be invited to participate in two community events this fall. On Oct. 25, “Texas Standard,” The Briscoe Center and the Austin History Center will invite the public to participate in a discussion of the importance of oral history, view pieces of its archive related to the tower shooting and hear from eyewitnesses to the event. On Nov. 2 “Texas Standard” will partner with KLRU-TV, Austin’s PBS, to host a panel discussion chronicling the gun debate following mass shootings from 1966 to present.

About “Texas Standard”
“Texas Standard” sets the bar for broadcast news coverage, offering crisp, expansive coverage of politics, lifestyle and culture, the environment, technology and innovation, and business and the economy — from a distinctly Texas perspective. Hosted by award-winning journalist David Brown, the hour-long daily news magazine is grounded in the best traditions of American journalism: fact-based, independent and politically neutral reporting.

“Texas Standard,” which airs in 25 markets across Texas, is a project of KUT Austin, KERA North Texas, Houston Public Media, and San Antonio’s Texas Public Radio, in collaboration with news organizations across Texas.


"Out of the Blue" will be distributed nationally byPublic Radio International. Public radio stations across the country will be able air to the documentary anytime during the month of August.

Laura Rice, Texas Standard, (512) 232-5424, or
Erin Geisler, KUT Public Radio, (512) 475-8071

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