Monday, 15 June 2009

Newseum - an after thought

While having a self-indulgent browse through some travel photos from earlier in the year , I was reminded of something I meant to blog about months ago and didn't - the Washington D.C. "Newseum". As the name suggests the Newseum displayed a fascinating history of the media and news, as well as interesting exhibits such as this very moving one about 9/11.

Wreckage from the top of one of the Twin Towers in the foreground with the front pages from various newspapers around the World from 11 and 12 Sept 2001 in the background.

The exhibit that left the greatest impression on me though was a wall of photographs. On first glance it looks like a wall of ordinary photographs of ordinary people, but on closer inspection you learn that they are all journalists killed in the line of duty. We may complain about the free press when stories appear in the media that appear dubious or overly sensationalist, but after seeing these photographs I am even more appreciative than usual that I am resident in a country that allows the media to flourish.
On the subject of free press, I also recommend you all read this article written by murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge about why he continued to critique his government in spite of threats to his life. His photo wasn't on the wall as his death had been too recent, but it is an excellent article that gives the photo wall at the Newseum even more perspective, especially his line "Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you." I just hope I remember that line next time I read a news article that irritates me for whatever reason or see a copy of The Sun ...

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