Day 3. December 30, 2014
The third day my sister was here we woke up eager to check out the only museum on her “Must See” list. The Newseum. The original plan was to visit the Newseum then explore more of the National Mall, but we ended up spending six hours taking in American History and the History of the Press through the eyes of journalists.
It became apparent that my sister, her bf, and I had different museum visiting strategies, so we split up right away and agreed to reconvene at lunch. We ended up meeting up at the end of the day.
Honestly, I thought we might not make it in to the Newseum to begin with because my sister spent one hour reading the headlines. It was interesting to see how each state perceived what was Newsworthy. On this particular date it felt like most of Middle America’s front page news centered on football, whereas the coastal states featured news on the missing AirAsia plane or politics.
A good portion of the Newseum was dedicated to the history of the press and its conflict with the government. The two need each other as much as they get in each other’s way, but probably the most enlightening part was how much the press and the people have worked together to affect political change.
The headlines surrounding the civil rights movement were like a slap on the face. The actions taken by opponents to desegregation were barbaric. More interesting were the parallels between what happened then and what’s happening now with the Furguson Case.
Some of the visual aids were shocking. The one of a truck full of bullet holes showed the extent that journalists will go to to bring us a story. The truck made my stomach churn. The journalist in it survived that attack, but it left me wondering what type of person it takes to risk his/her life in order to bring the people a story.
The museum makes a big deal about how journalist write our first drafts of history. I think that’s true. While the headlines might be sensational, the stories written this way gave me a different perspective on some major world events that my high school history classes glossed over.
What do you think? Are journalist crazy to take these risks or are they unsung heroes to the people’s cause?
For me, two of the most emotional exhibits centered around 9/11 and the Pulitzer Prize winners. I could only handle these exhibit for a few minutes at a time because it brought to life the hard decisions that photographers must make on a daily basis.
It was interesting to see how different states and countries handled the headline treatment of the World Trade Center. Some of the headlines were sensitive and other’s were sensational, but they all made apparent the shocking news of the day.
The story that got me the most was one of a photographer who was documenting starving children in Africa, and how his decision to not intervene eventually lead to him taking his own life. To contrast that one, there was one of a photographer who helped a Vietnamese girl who was fleeing from Napalm (after he took her picture).
I only took a photo of one of my favorites picture, which is the one of a giant wave hitting a lighthouse.
I finished my tour on a happier note with a tour of the Baby Boomer Generation.
We didn’t end up meeting up until the museum closed. Since it was cold out, we decided to explore the city a little bit and ended up at Ford’s Theater. We snapped some shots, then decided that it would be the next day’s activity.