Newseum: Remembering the Media’s Contribution

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we visited the Newseum and learned about the history of the news in the United States. Many of the historical newspaper clippings reporting on MLK meant a great deal more because we visited on this particular day. I think it is very important to remember how the media has evolved and how it has impacted society. Although we learn about the history of world events in education, walking through the Newseum allowed me to picture exactly what it would have been like to receive a newspaper describing world events.

The Pulitzer Prize Photo Gallery contained images that evoked a variety of emotions, from joy to sadness. Many of the images depicted visceral representations of horrific events such as Kenyans hiding from the shopping mall shooters, children running from napalm attacks in 1972, and reactions of students from the Kent State shootings. It was difficult to witness this part of the Newseum without feeling overcome with emotion, which shows that photojournalism is an extremely effective dimension of media. I believe the saying “pictures speak 1,000 words” holds immense truth. Photos have the power of capturing history and allowing us to remember events better than words ever could.

I was disappointed to hear from Brian Lamb, the Executive Chairman of C-SPAN, that the Newseum has been struggling to sustain itself financially. The Al Neuharth family has contributed the most money to the Newseum, and according to Brian, the museum would not be open today without that family’s financial support. The exhibits in the Newseum allow us a firmer grasp on history, and they demonstrate the importance of the media. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the public is granted the privilege of visiting important, educational institutions such as the Newseum.

  1. #1 by toddino17 on January 19, 2017 - 3:36 am

    You’re so right Peter – those images in the Pulitzer gallery were so powerful. There was something to having the photos blown up big and having the time to slowly walk and ponder each photo. I found myself with goosebumps quite a few times. One you mentioned that had a profound effect on me was the photo of the mother with her two children on the floor of the mall in Kenya during the shooting. That just blows my mind – can you imagine? They stayed like that, frozen with terror, for fiver hours. That’s ludicrous. The mother said she hummed mall music to her children to keep them calm. I found myself humming a melody in my head and trying to put myself in their shoes. Something about blowing up those images and giving visitors the time and space to empathize with these people is so effective. I also felt such joy – like looking at the photo of the family welcoming their POW father/husband back home on the tarmac. His family is running toward him with huge smiles and it is just the most joyous photo!

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