A Visit to the Newseum, an inspiration for a journalist-to-be

Visiting the Newseum yesterday in downtown D.C. capitalized on why I want to be a journalist. The Newseum located a few blocks from the Capitol building, is literally a living history of news. It is six stories, and starts with a collection of daily front pages of more than 80 newspapers throughout the world. An interactive living timeline tells us how journalism evolved from oral story telling, to the printing press, to today’s social media. There are numerous collections and galleries, such as the Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, a 9/11 Gallery with all the world’s major newspaper headlines from that day, and various other exhibits.

Of the many quotes engraved in the building, one particularly stands out in my mind.

“Journalism is the first draft of history.”

These are the words of Philip Graham, co-owner and publisher of The Washington Post from the late 1940s to his death in 1963.

I never thought of how much impact the work of today’s professionals’ plays on our history tomorrow. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio have the first records of the world’s major events. They not only tell the story, but preserve it for generations, so that history feels like it is still alive through the print headlines and broadcasters’ voices that we still remember.

A Journalists Memorial, to all those who have died while on assignment, is part of the Newseum. We often take advantage of the news that comes to us from the most dangerous places in  the world. It is chilling and at the same time inspirational to know that journalists voluntarily run towards danger, such as war or natural disaster to tell the story to the world.

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