The Newseum: A Hard Look at Journalism

The Newseum: A Hard Look at Journalism

So, this past weekend my evening course (Media and the Movies) took a field trip to the much famed Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. I had no expectations for what the Newseum would be like: all I knew was that since I have a focus in communications, this facility should be right up my alley.

 

Not only was this place right up my alley, it was a roadmap that showed me what life as a journalist entailed. The heroism, the controversy, and the ethics involved. While I was there, I was able to take some pictures that I’ll take the time to walk you through, right here. Right now. Let’s hop into it!

 

Berlin Wall

 

Upon arriving on the first floor of the Newseum, we had a few options. We could go to the left where there was an intense exhibition on FBI investigations on terrorism, or we could see the journalistic coverage of the [fall of the] Berlin Wall. I didn’t really choose and ended up doing both, but the above photo is a chunk of the Berlin Wall itself.

 

Display case

 

The picture above is from a section focused on journalists who have placed their lives in jeopardy for the sake of their stories. Some were banned, but many of them had been killed/assassinated. The above photo shows the glass case containing the belongings of a NPR journalist named David Gilkey who was killed while doing a story in Afghanistan in 2016. The glass case displays his camera equipment as well as a journal he kept where he penned his passion for [photo]journalism.  It was humbling to see.

 

Map

 

The picture above shows the World Press Freedom Map. It's just a little ways from David Gilkey’s display case. Here, you’ll get a global perspective of how certain countries moderate the concept of “freedom of press." You may be surprised by which countries lack tolerance for media.

 

Radio/TV timeline

 

You will encounter this format throughout the museum. This display shown above is made up of panels, and it gives a timeline juxtaposition of the development of TV and radio and the events that happened betwixt those developments. You’ll see vintage prints of TIME magazine, radios, and even the oldest Apple laptop that lacked a separate monitor.

 

9/11 Display

 

The above photo is a piece of the wreckage from the 9/11 fall of the Twin Towers (I believe, specifically, it was a radio antenna). This was by far the most intense exhibit for me. On the wall to the left are headlines of newspapers (domestic and international) splattered with images filled with fire, death, and destruction. They all scream messages of horror, dread, and shock.

 

It was refreshing to observe that the exhibit encouraged participants to express their sympathy/empathy by allowing written messages to be displayed on a white monolith (as seen on the right).  I also had the opportunity to watch a film composed of the testimonies of journalists and reporters who were on the scene when 9/11 happened. It was sobering for me as it was for everyone in the little theater. This is definitely a must-see.

 

Read Alexandria's previous blog posts

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More