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Christopher Buchanan papers

 Collection 0127-MMC-NPBA

Christopher Buchanan is a freelance documentary producer in both public and commercial television, as well as public radio. From 1986 to 1988, he produced stories for National Public Radio's news and information programs and worked as an associate producer for All Things Considered for much of 1992. For the Public Broadcasting Service, Buchanan contributed to several programs in the series Frontline as either associate producer or field producer. These programs include "Pentagon, Inc.," "Betrayal of Democracy," and the Peabody award-winning examination of the 1988 presidential candidates "The Choice."

The collection consists of Buchanan's 1974 senior thesis "The Struggle for the Soul of Public Television: A Case Study in Decision Making," interview notes, and newspaper clippings. It also contains extensive production files from Buchanan's career documenting his work on programs such as All Things Considered, Frontline, Raising Arizona, among others.


  • 1971-1977

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


51.25 Linear Feet

83 Sound Cassettes (audio cassettes)

145 Sound Discs (mini-disc tapes)

43 Videocassettes (VHS)


Christopher Buchanan graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in political science

Before he began his career in film and radio, Buchanan worked as a print reporter on the political desk of Congressional Quarterly's Weekly Report and as a staff reporter for CQ's newsletter, Congressional Insight. He also contributed articles to Politics in America and The Almanac of America Politics.

Calling himself a freelance documentary producer, Buchanan has spent the last thirteen years working for public and commercial media. On the radio side, he worked for National Public Radio from 1986 to 1988, frequently producing stories for all of NPR's news and information programs. For much of 1992, he served as an associate producer for All Things Considered, producing many election-related stories with hosts and senior correspondents.

Meanwhile, Buchanan has contributed to several stories in the PBS series Frontline as either associate producer or field producer. These programs include the Peabody Award-winning examination of the 1988 presidential candidates, "The Choice," "Pentagon, Inc.," and "Betrayal of Democracy." He also worked on the BBC/Frontline co-production "Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?" In his capacity as field producer and associate producer, Buchanan conducted preliminary and some on-camera interviews, and took care of all field production arrangements.

Buchanan's other work in commercial media range from being assistant location manager and production coordinator for the feature film Raising Arizona, to co-producing One Song, Many Hands, an hour-long documentary about the hunger relief and development efforts in Africa that grew out of the song, "We are the World." His most recent independent production, Pictures to an Exhibition: Morris Louis Goes to Milan (1991), won the Bronze Award at the Houston Film Festival. Finally, in 1994, Buchanan produced "Turning Point at Normandy: The Soldiers Stories" for ABC News. His next project is another BBC/Frontline co-production tentatively titled "The Life and Death of Pablo Escobar."


Organized as two series:

  1. Series 1: Public Broadcasting History
  2. Series 2: Production Files

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Christopher Buchanan Papers were given to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Christopher Buchanan in December of 1991.Significant donations were made by Mr. Buchanan in 2007 and 2013.

Guide to the Christopher Buchanan papers
Processed by Karen E. King
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 1994-06: Revised by Karen E. King, June 1994.
  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Karen E. King, April 2007.
  • 2007-06-26: EAD revised by Karen E. King, June 2007
  • 2018-01-04: Minor updates and revisions made post ArchivesSpace migration by Joanne Archer.
  • 2018-01-04: Additional accession from 2007 and 2013 incorporated into finding aid by Joanne Archer
  • 2021-08-20: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742