'Ahead of her time': the woman who recorded the news for 30 years


These days we’re marinated in news all day long – meaning that Marion Stokes was way ahead of her time. For more than 30 years until her death in 2012, the Philadelphia resident recorded the news 24 hours a day. More than 70,000 tapes of footage were amassed, covering everything from the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster, 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre.

Director Matt Wolf has spent the past five years sifting through Stokes’ 70,000 tapes and 50,000 books (not to mention a collection of Macintosh computers). He has pulled together a compelling narrative around her obsessions and the ways in which they affected her life and family. “This is an archive which has anything and everything,” Wolf says. “History takes on greater meaning as time passes and Marion was so invested in knowledge and truth – it’s just that she didn’t know what would have meaning or truth in the future, so she had to record it all.”

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 04/10/19]