Over spring break, my family and I visited DC for the first time. Along with all of the classic tourist sites like the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II monument, I wanted to go to the Newseum. My parents hadn’t ever heard of it, but a few of my friends told me it was definitely worth seeing since I like journalism.
We started with the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. I’d seen a few of the photos in previous journalism classes, but after taking photos for my multimedia journalism class, I have a newfound appreciation for both the photos and the photographers. They are not only experts with the technology, but these photographers have the ability to capture an event that is evocative and real. My mom saw photos from the Oklahoma City bombing and started tearing up. I admire they’re ability to relay emotion so effectively.
I didn’t know the museum contained so many artifacts. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to see there, but it definitely wasn’t sections of the Berlin Wall and Katrina-damaged TV monitors. Seeing these pieces of history really help put the stories into context. From a mock-up of Tim Russert’s office to vehicles damaged during international reporting, the Newseum displays the many different careers journalists can have. The journalists’ memorial was almost surreal. After walking through international equipment, it was very humbling to see a wall of people who died for journalism. Everyone in the room was speaking quietly, and seemed to pay respect as they read about the journalist’s lives. That exhibit and the September 11 exhibit were the most solemn and powerful. An entire wall is covered with newspaper front pages from across the country alongside the pictures and equipment of a photojournalist who died documenting the tragedy. I was only in third grade when it happened, so seeing the coverage brought up some new perspectives for me. I think it’s so admirable that this museum it highlighting the importance of journalism when the media is changing so much and trust in journalists if lower than it used to be.