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Steve Bell papers and audiovisual recordings

Identifier: SPEC-097

Scope and Contents

The Steve Bell papers and audiovisual recordings collection includes correspondence, speech transcripts, photographs, scripts, newspaper clippings, press notes, essays, and other materials pertinent to Steve Bell’s career as a news correspondent/anchor for WOW-TV, ABC News, and KYW-TV ranging from 1964 to 1992. It also includes articles, correspondence, speech transcripts, newspaper clippings, and other materials from Bell’s time as a professor at Ball State University from 1992 to 2010. It also includes a collection of Bell’s personal papers and post-retirement papers, including essays, correspondence, tourism documents, various documentary films materials, etc. The collection contains various awards and memorabilia Bell collection through the years, as well as an audiovisual collection with film reels, DVDs, audio tapes, etc. ranging from 1959 to 1996.


  • 1919 - 2015

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Digital surrogates are available to on-site researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The Bell family will retain copyright, literary, and intellectual property rights to the contents in as far as they hold them until January 1, 2025, at which point in time these copyright, literary, and intellectual property rights will be transfered to Ball State University.

Biographical Note

Stephen Bell was born on December 9, 1935 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. As an avid sports lover, Bell hoped to become a football coach, but an ankle injury forced him to change his career path. His love of broadcasting grew when he attended Iowa's Central College. In college, he worked Sundays at KBOE radio and frequently filled in for other broadcasters during vacations. After graduating with a degree in history, Bell joined WOI radio/TV in Ames, Iowa. Bell eventually earned his MSJ degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Bell worked as an anchor and correspondent at WGN radio, CBS Omaha, and WNEW radio. In 1967, Bell began his network career at ABC radio in New York City. He returned to television when he volunteered to go to Vietnam as a correspondent, and Bell, his wife Joyce, and their two daughters moved to Asia in 1970. His family lived in Hong Kong while Bell worked in Vietnam and Cambodia, occasionally spending time with them on his leaves. While in Cambodia, Bell and his crew were captured by the Viet Cong and held at gun point for two hours. They were eventually released, but managed to record the incident.

Upon his return to the United States, Bell began working on Good Morning America, where he would work for 11 years. In August of 1992, Bell was hired by Ball State University to serve as the first Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Professor of Telecommunications. Bell taught courses on reporting critical issues and news production. He also moderated election debates, hosted public affairs programs, chaired community forums, wrote op-ed pieces for The Star Press, and served as an elder in his local Presbyterian church. Bell retired from Ball State in 2007.

During his career, Bell reported on the East Harlem riots, the Newark riots, the assassination and funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam cease-fire, the POW release at Hanoi, the Laos war, martial law in the Philippines, the Watergate scandal and resignation of Richard Nixon, and Muhammad Anwar El Sadat's visit to Israel. Bell has won many awards including Emmy Awards, an Overseas Press Club Award, Headliner's Award, Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, and honorary degrees from Central College, St. Anselm College, and George Washington University.


10 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audiovisual formats include 16mm film; open reel videotape; audio cassettes; 1/4 inch reel-to-reel audio tape; Betacam; U-matic; and VHS videotapes.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a records transfer from the Ball State University Teleplex on 2014/08/05 and as a donation from Steve Bell on 2017/2/16.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of audio and video recordings in this collection are available for use in the Ball State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections.

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

V.334: The Career Stories of Broadcast Journalist Steve Bell documentary

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/01/28 by Audra Butler and Brian Faust.

Steve Bell audiovisual recordings and papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA