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ARSC Student Research Award

UCLA Film & Television Archive's Research and Study Center (ARSC) is pleased to announce the recipient of the ARSC Student Research Award for the 2013-2014 academic year.  This award is made possible by a grant from the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation.

"Tuning In and Copping Out:  ABC's Relevance Programming"

By Daniel Langford.  View a PDF of the essay.


In the late-1960s, television networks all debuted youth-targeted series that became known as “relevance” programming.  Although the term has been applied to many shows of this era, a specific type of socially relevant drama debuted in the 1970-71 season, featuring young protagonists and promising a reinvigorated consideration of topical cultural issues.  Using three of ABC’s relevance series, The New People (1969), The Young Rebels (1970-71), and The Young Lawyers (1970-71) as a case study, this paper reconsiders how the label of relevance became a misguided promotional strategy, leading confused viewers to bring inappropriate reading expectations to the programming.  Comparing archival development documents and promotional materials from ABC’s 1969 relevance experiment, The New People, to the network’s entry into the 1970-71 season reveals that a variety of promotional and formatting compromises were made in an attempt to secure both mainstream popularity and youth interest.  These alterations repositioned principle youth characters in the role of “the establishment,” often leading to regressive or unbalanced discussions of race relations, feminism, and political activism that were ultimately rejected by critics and audiences.

About the Author

Daniel Langford is a Ph.D. student in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA.  His dissertation considers youth culture films in the late 1960s with an emphasis on industry studies, independent film, and countercultural politics.

About the Award

Please note that an award will not be offered for 2015.

Submissions for the ARSC Student Research Award are open to M.A. and Ph.D. candidates currently enrolled at UCLA. The award was created to:

  •  Recognize excellence in graduate student critical and theoretical writings based on extensive primary research viewing and analysis of moving image materials held in the collections of UCLA Film & Television Archive.
  •  Promote and encourage extensive research access to collections held by UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Submissions were evaluated upon how well they demonstrated:

  •  Sophistication and depth of research methodology and organization in the textural analysis of moving image collection materials held by the Archive.
  •  Originality of scholarship, quality, clarity, and strength of argumentation in the critical and theoretical analysis of complex cultural or historical issues related to specific films or television programs held by the Archive.

To learn more, please email:

Past Award Recipients

2012-2013  Kathy Yim-king Mak

2011-2012  Bryan Wuest

2010-2011  Philip Leers

2009-2010  Gillian Horvat and Samantha N. Sheppard

2008-2009  Jonathan Cohn and Lindsay Giggey

2007-2008  Maya Smukler and Daniel Steinhart

2006-2007  Phil Wagner and Alex Kupfer (Honorable Mention)