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Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Day at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Eric & I toured
CNN last month, we have
wanted to learn more
about the news industry.

This is just an overview of a one day tour of the Newseum.  The price of their tickets covers two days because there is so much to see and learn about.  

Let's start at the

Sharing information took a giant leap forward after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenburg and his associates in 1439 in Germany.

Benjamin Harris published
the first newspapers in
America in 1690.

British colonial authorities shut down Harris' newspaper, because of the stories he chose to print.

I am grateful that our Founding Fathers chose to make Freedom of the Press one of our country's first guaranteed freedoms in the First Amendment.

An over-sized copy of the
Declaration of Independence
& a replica of an early,
manually run printing press.

Early newspaper editors gathered stories from readers, government documents, other newspapers and published them.  As technology changed, journalism changed.  News stories became more widely shared following the invention of telegraph in 1838 by Samuel Morse. The development and refinement of photography from the mid 1800s onward brought photos to newspapers by the early 1900s.

Newspaper reporters with
cameras fanned out across
communities to "get the

Reporters are everywhere, on Main Street and the battlefield.  They risk their lives to provide news coverage.

pays tribute to the 2,291
journalists from around
the world who died 
covering the news.

Media reports on social change
moves public opinion.

Coverage of the Women's Suffrage
& the Civil Rights Movement
led to important changes in
 our country.

More recently, laws have enacted to ensure that LGBTQ individuals are treated equally under the law and receive equal protections afforded to all US citizens, as guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment.  Gays are serving openly in the US military and are getting married in every state.  There is still much work to be done.  There are lawsuits in the courts challenging the application of equal protection to people of differing sexual preferences and gender identity.

Newspaper reporting helped
bring down a president.

This is the door that was
damaged during the

Making fun of the news....
Comedians have LOTS
of material to work with.

Music & the news it
generates shapes our

Music spread social
the early 1960s.

Woodstock, was the anthem 
of activism in the late 1960s
& early 1970s.

Musicians who push the envelope of societal norms have been censored.  On September 9, 1956 Elvis Presley's performance on the Ed Sullivan Show was filmed from the waist up because his gyrating hips were considered to be too provocative.  In 1970, radio stations refused to play Loretta Lynn's "The Pill" because of its references to birth control.  

The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) was created in 1984 to force to coerce record companies into not entering contracts with musicians that create works deemed explicit. The group also wanted to force record companies to print all lyrics on  album covers.  Where records would be dictated by the PMRC.  Record stores would be directed to place records with explicit record covers be placed behind store counters to keep children from seeing them.

The compromise reached:  Record companies would print lyrics on the back of record albums or add "Explicit Lyrics - Parental Advisory label to them.  There were untended consequences of the PMRC's censorship activities.  Music customers sought out records with parental advisory labels as an act of rebellion.  Record companies sales grew and they continued to sign artists who performed all types of music, including controversial and/or explicit songs.

Censorship continues: In 2003 Marilyn Manson was banned from playing at Ozzfest Tour stop at Six Flags Amusement Park in Darien, New York.

The Pulitzer Prize for
Photography started 
in 1942.

Sometimes Pulitzer Prize winning photos are famous the world over.

I think this is the most famous
Pulitzer Prize winning photo,

Sometimes the prize winning photo doesn't make the front pages of national newspapers and websites. 

A utility worker gives mouth
to mouth resuscitation to a
another worker who was
knocked unconscious by a
4,160 surge of electricity on
a muggy July 1967 day.

J.D. Thompson saved Randall G. Champion's life that day.

The FBI Crime Fighting section at the Newseum display of some of the FBI's most difficult cases. Because of a Schenectady, New York connection, I've chosen to write a complex bombing case.

Starting on May 25, 1978, bombs were sent to American universities, airlines and then the US Forestry Service was targeted.  Over the next 17 years, 15 bombs were sent to assigned targets in several states.  Three people were killed and twenty-three were injured.  The mysterious bomber was given the moniker, The Unabomber.

This is the cabin that Ted

He had been living "off the grid" for over twenty years, with no electricity or running water.

I guessed that the dark residue
on the wall is from bomb
making residue.

That's where Kaszynski's bed
was attached to the wall.

You could say that the Unabomber unmasked himself...  In 1995 he sent a rambling 35,000 word manifesto to the New York Times and Washington Post with the promise to stop sending bombs if his writings, in total, were published.

Excerpts were published in on September 19, 1995.  Numerous papers ran the excerpts.  Two people recognized the Unabomber's writing style, brother David Kaczynski, and his wife, Linda Patrik. Despite assurances from the FBI that David would remain anonymous, for turning in his brother, Ted Kaczynski, word leaked out and his home in Schenectady, New York was besieged by reporters.

As an area resident, I followed the Unabomber's capture and listened to the Kaczynskis' neighbors talk about what it was like to have their quiet streets clogged with news trucks and reporters trying to speak to everyone to get background information on David, his wife Linda, and their mother, Wanda.

Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, plead guilty to the bombings on January 22, 1998.  He escaped the death penalty and is serving a life sentence in prison.

Terrorists operate differently, depending on their motives  Ted Kaczynski chose to send bombs to selected people, universities and businesses over many years. Others look to do a lot of damage in one location on a single day.

Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, detonated a rental truck, filled with explosives, in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people, including 19 children.  

McVeigh was executed for his crimes.  Nichols is serving a life sentence in prison.

The scenes of Kaczynski's terrorist crimes are dispersed and there is no formal memorial for his victims and their families.  Portions of the walls of the Murrah Building remain to frame the haunting memorial to the Americans who died on April 19, 1995.

A selfie of Eric & me taken at the Hane Greenspun
Pennsylvania Avenue Terrace

A bit of traveler's advice:  If you're going to be in Washington, D.C. and must choose between the Newseum and the International Museum of Spies, choose the Newseum.  You will not be disappointed.

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