The last time I visited Washington DC, the new Newseum hadn’t opened yet. It was close, but not quite. So when I returned this week, a little piece of me kept urging me to go there. It kind of feels like a building that is supposed to represent everything I do and teach. So Saturday morning I decided to hop on the Metro and just go. A mix of a beautiful day and the stillness of a Saturday morning let me just wander around the area to enjoy the huge buildings and monuments. DC has such a rich history – it is really wonderful to see a massive monument to journalism mixed in with it all.
Inside is full of interactive and simple exhibits that try to tell the enormous tale of journalism… where it started, how it developed and where it could go. The most meaningful exhibit for me was the September 11th display. It touched me and brought me back to where I was in my newsroom that day. Hearing the stories from the many reporters and photographers who were on the scene at the time just really moved me. Most of all, I learned more about Bill Biggart. He died as he took pictures of the World Trade Center. Somehow his cameras were found under the rubble and 150 of the digital pictures he took right before his death were able to show what he saw. His gear is on display for everyone to see. Pretty awesome.
The other section was inside the Internet, Radio and Television section where a display looks at the future of the news. The exhibit already included the closing of the Rocky Mountain News and the effect Twitter has on the journalism industry. I ended up having a great conversation about the future of journalism with some of the other people visiting the museum.
In all.. I think it’s a good place. It’s wonderful to touch and see the history of journalism. I didn’t need convincing that journalism is important… but it might help convince skeptics. The museum has so many stories about heroic men and women who go above and beyond to help tell the stories we may or may not know we want to hear, watch or read.