Recent Stories

August 18, 2014
Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell’s GRAMMYs Hat Coming to the Newseum

“Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?”

When Arby’s tweeted at Pharrell Williams during the 2013 GRAMMY Awards, they created a social media frenzy over the Vivienne Westwood-designed, fast-food-logo-lookalike hat the nominated musician wore on the red carpet. Now, the hat that became an internet sensation and raised $44,100 for the singer’s From One Hand to Another foundation will be on display at the Newseum for a limited run.

The original Arby’s tweet was retweeted more than 80,000 times, and Pharrell’s good-natured Twitter reply – “Y’all tryna start a roast beef?” – helped the hat go viral. The story caught the attention of traditional media outlets, whose reports on the music awards ceremony the next day frequently mentioned Arby’s and the hat. The newsmaking hat demonstrated the power of social media to connect people around the globe to events in real time.

Pharrell’s hat will be on display in the Newseum’s New York Times Great Hall of News Aug. 21 through Oct. 26, 2014. Plan your visit now!

August 14, 2014
Octavio Gomez

Octavio Gomez, as featured in the “One Nation With News for All” exhibit.

Law, History Support Arrested Reporters

Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly, the Washington Post and Huffington Post reporters who were arrested Aug. 13 in Ferguson, Mo., while covering the bloody protests in that St. Louis suburb, have history and the law on their side.

In a first-person account of his arrest that was published Aug. 14 in the Washington Post, Lowery recounted a troubling story of police harassment that sounded eerily similar to a landmark case 33 years ago involving a photographer for Los Angeles-based La Opinión newspaper and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Lowery described in chilling detail how he was slammed into a soda machine and put in plastic cuffs. Both he and Reilly were later released without explanation.

“Initially, both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and I were asked for identification,” Lowery said about the encounter inside a nearby McDonald’s. “I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn’t press the point, but one added that if we called 911, no one would answer.

“Moments later, the police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video. An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, ‘Stop recording.’”

In 1981, Mexican-American photographer Octavio Gomez was covering immigration protests for the influential Spanish-language newspaper when INS agents took his camera and press pass, demanding proof that he was in the country legally. Gomez, a naturalized citizen, recalled back then that he felt alone, angry and with tears in his eyes as agents mocked him and his green card.

What Gomez did next had repercussions that affect journalists today.

In the first lawsuit ever filed on behalf of Spanish-language media, La Opinión and Gomez sued the INS, citing harassment and suppression of their right to report and publish news. In 1985, they were awarded nearly $300,000 in damages — a victory for journalists’ right to do their jobs without interference. The case is highlighted in the Newseum’s exhibit “One Nation With News for All.”

“We do not want our [reporters and photographers] to be intimidated by immigration officials, whether they are legal foreign aliens, as Mr. Gomez is, or native Americans,” the newspaper’s editor and publisher, Ignacio E. Lozano Jr., said after the victory.

Washington Post executive editor Martin D. Baron released a statement Wednesday, calling Ferguson police’s behavior “wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news.”

History backs him up.

Related Links:
August 14, 2014
Inside the First Amendment

A protester takes shelter from a tear gas explosion on Wednesday in Ferguson. (David Carson/The Associated Press)

Media and Missouri: What the heck is going on?

What in the heck is going on with the police in Ferguson, Missouri, and journalists?

The St. Louis suburb has been the scene of peaceful protests and charged emotions, and nightly chaos and rampant looting, following the Aug. 9 shooting death of a black teenager, Michael Brown, by a yet-to-be-identified police officer.

In the confusion and violence of the first nights of violence, journalists first reported being ordered away from where rioting occurred or barred from entering the city. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch photojournalist who had been assaulted Sunday night by a looter sought refuge in a police line — only to be asked later by an officer “why are you here?”, taken into custody and transported to a police station.

On Wednesday night, incidents involving journalists involved tear gas and arrests:

  • A KSDK TV crew reported that seconds after filming police tussling with a man, their video camera was hit by a “bean-bag round,” the type of non-lethal weapon police were reported to be using to break up demonstrations. The crew later was approached by police with drawn weapons and ordered to leave the area.
  • A tear gas canister was fired at an Al Jazeera America TV crew, which had set up a camera on a sidewalk outside an established police perimeter. As the journalists fled the gas, armed officers were videotaped tilting the crew’s camera toward the ground.
  • Wesley Lowery, a reporter for The Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post, were detained and led away by armor-clad police carrying assault weapons who ordered journalists to leave a McDonald’s where news media were working and recharging equipment. Both were later released without explanation, with one report saying their release came after the city police chief was asked by The Los Angeles Times about the arrests.

At a midday press conference Thursday, Ferguson Chief of Police Jon Belmar said, in response to questions about the various incidents, “The media is not a target.”

But David Boardman, president of the American Society of News Editors, said just hours earlier in a posted statement that “from the beginning of this situation, the police have made conscious decisions to restrict information and images coming from Ferguson. Of course, these efforts largely have been unsuccessful, as the nation and the world are still seeing for themselves the heinous actions of the police. For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak.”

Reilly said the scene during his arrest Wednesday was “madness.” In a account posted by Politico, he said he “was not moving quickly enough for their liking ... I was told I had 45 seconds, 30 seconds, pack up all my stuff and leave, at which point the officer in question ... held me back, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag.” After being handcuffed, Reilly said, “The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposely on the way out of the McDonald’s then sarcastically apologized for it.”

Martin D. Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, said “there was absolutely no justification for Lowery’s arrest” and that the organization “was appalled by the conduct of the officers involved.” Baron said that Lowery “was illegally instructed to stop taking video of officers (and) ... after contradictory instructions on how to exit, he was slammed against a soda machine and then handcuffed.” Baron said police behavior was “wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news.”

On Twitter, Lowery wrote, “Apparently, in America, in 2014, police can manhandle you, take you into custody, put you in cell & then open the door like it didn’t happen.”

No, the government may not do that — to journalists or any other citizen, all of whom enjoy the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The nation’s founders provided constitutional protection for a free press precisely to keep authorities from figuratively or literally manhandling or muzzling what they intended to be a “watchdog on government.”

To effectively fulfill that watchdog role, journalists must be able to see and report to their fellow citizens what government is doing — whether that is a Grand Jury investigation into Brown’s death or how police are responding to what clearly is, at times, lawless behavior in the streets of Ferguson.

Local citizens and the nation need to know, from a variety of sources, what is happening in this strife-torn city, and to be sure no stone is left unturned in investigating how Brown came to be shot. And press conferences and official statements alone are not enough to overcome the distrust over yet another shooting of a black teen by a police officer.

Freedom to report the news necessarily means the freedom to gather it, whether a journalist for mainstream media or a citizen using a cell phone camera.

Police and others in Ferguson anxious about those reporting on their activities should know that “no news” is not “good news” — for them or anyone else in their city or in America.

Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institute’s First Amendment Center. He can be reached at gpolicinski@newseum.org.

Related Links:
August 11, 2014
Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute

Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute

Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute a Success

Dozens of teachers from around the country recently participated in our first ever Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute, both in person and virtually via social media. During this free professional development workshop, presented in partnership with Annenberg Learner, teachers focused on ways to incorporate new media, the First Amendment and social change into their classrooms through interactive presentations and curriculum-building sessions. On-site participants also had the chance to examine artifacts from our collection with an archivist and explore our galleries.

The Newseum Education team used social media to reach the greatest number of educators during the three-day institute. All activities were accessible online through classroom videos, live tweetsInstagram imagesPinterest boards and Poll Everywhere.

Educators who participated in the institute raved about the experience. Beth Gryczewski, a social studies teacher at Flint Hill School in Alexandria, Va., told us, “Not only are the Newseum instructors dynamic, but they have done a fantastic job of telling the story from perspectives that are usually ignored.  Learning about the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of the First Amendment, the press, and from the perspective of the demonstrators are all essential parts of the story that are too often left out of the classroom.”

Thanks to all teachers who applied to and participated in the institute. We look forward to more great opportunities like this in the future!

August 8, 2014
Aug. 9, 1974, issue of The Washington Post. (Newseum collection)

Aug. 9, 1974, issue of The Washington Post. (Newseum collection)

40 Years Ago in News History: President Nixon Resigns

On Aug. 9, 1974, at noon, Richard M. Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign the office.

The House Judiciary Committee had begun hearings three months earlier to impeach Nixon, who had been accused of covering up his role in the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at Washington’s Watergate hotel and office complex.

For months, the Watergate scandal pitted The Washington Post against the 37th president of the United States. The Post’s stories ultimately brought in the rest of the news media. Congress and the courts also investigated. Throughout the ordeal, Nixon repeatedly denied any wrongdoing or any knowledge of the burglary.

“People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook,” he said during a 1973 televised question-and-answer session with Associated Press managing editors.

The “smoking gun” that destroyed Nixon’s presidency was a secret tape recording Nixon released to the special prosecutor four days before his resignation. The tape revealed that Nixon not only knew of the cover-up from the beginning but tried to use the FBI to stop the investigation.

The Post, whose reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein doggedly uncovered the Watergate crime, earned the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for public service for its Watergate coverage.

On Sept. 8, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford granted Nixon a full and absolute pardon for any federal crimes he may have committed in office.

The name Watergate started a worldwide trend of attaching the suffix “-gate” to any story that hinted of scandal.

The taped door that led to the Watergate investigation, along with the reporters’ notes, are on display in the News Corporation News History Gallery.

August 1, 2014
Gulf of Tonkin front page

The Aug. 3, 1964, issue of The Sun in Baltimore. (Newseum collection)

50 Years Ago in News History: The Gulf of Tonkin

On Aug. 2, 1964, the crew of the USS battleship Maddox reported an attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in waters known as the Gulf of Tonkin. The attacks allegedly occurred while the United States performed intelligence patrols.

Two days later on Aug. 4, the USS Turner Joy reported another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. Later that evening, President Lyndon B. Johnson described the attacks in a “midnight address” to the American people in which he requested a military response.

“In the larger sense, this new act of aggression, aimed directly at our own forces, again brings home to all of us in the United States the importance of the struggle for peace and security in Southeast Asia,” Johnson said. “The determination of all Americans to carry out our full commitment to the people and to the government of South Vietnam will be redoubled by this outrage.”

Congress agreed.

On Aug. 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, expanding the president’s authority over the military and effectively marking the beginning of the Vietnam War — one of the defining events in modern U.S. history.

The resolution allowed the president to “take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack.” Only two senators opposed the bill. Operation Rolling Thunder, the first extensive bombing campaign against North Vietnam, began the following year.

As the war dragged on, however, anti-war protests intensified. Critics questioned not only U.S. involvement in Vietnam but also the legal basis for it. They argued the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave the president an unconstitutional loophole around Congress’s reserved right to declare war. Critics even questioned the legitimacy of the initial attacks. Years later, the Pentagon Papers verified those doubts.

In 1971, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was repealed. By 1975, U.S. troops had evacuated Vietnam.

“Covering Vietnam,” a new exhibit that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, will explore the news coverage of the controversial war and will open at the Newseum in 2015.

Related Links:
July 31, 2014

Watch “The Boomer List” Trailer

PBS has released a trailer for the new documentary “The Boomer List,” from which the upcoming Newseum exhibit of the same name features portraits of 19 influential baby boomers taken by renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. The new American Masters documentary, which premieres Sept. 23, and the exhibit, which opens Sept. 26, delves into the lives, history and culture of the post-war generation. The film and the exhibit both include American luminaries born between 1946 and 1964, including Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Joel, Maria Shriver, John Leguizamo, Kim Cattrall and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

 

AARP

AARP is the exclusive sponsor of "The Boomer List" exhibit.

Related Links:
July 29, 2014

2012 issues of the Bowdoin Street Times are delivered weekly to the dollhouse. (Courtesy David Trumbull)

Big News in a Small Package

News comes in all shapes and sizes, so be prepared to read the fine print in the Bowdoin Street Times — Boston’s smallest weekly with an even smaller circulation.

David Trumbull, a columnist for the Post-Gazette in Boston, began printing the four-page newspaper four years ago for his wife, Mary DiZazzo-Trumbull, a fellow Post-Gazette writer and dollhouse enthusiast. Since the early 1980s, Mary’s dollhouse has been a labor of love, where she stocks the kitchen with “pancakes, coffee and syrup.”

But David felt something was missing.

“I couldn’t imagine a house that didn’t have a newspaper delivered,” he said.

So, he got to work.

The first issue of the Bowdoin Street Times was published in January 2010, highlighting the most exciting events from the couple’s week. David is the paper’s sole publisher, editor and reporter. He produces four copies a week: one for the dollhouse; one for his archives; and two for Mary, one of which she gives to friends.

“I can put out what’s happening in our lives, what’s happening with the dollhouse, when our friends visit … that can be a story in the paper,” David said.

 In June, David and Mary accompanied Post-Gazette publisher Pam Donnaruma to Washington to see “One Nation With News for All,” the Newseum’s exhibit in partnership with the Smithsonian that tells the story of how immigrants and minorities used the power of the press to shape the American experience. The Post-Gazette is featured in the exhibit. The newspaper was founded in 1905 by Donnaruma’s grandfather, James V. Donnaruma, as La Gazzetta del Massachusetts. It remains one of the leading voices for Italian Americans in Massachusetts.

During the visit, David brought archived copies of the Bowdoin Street Times to share with Newseum curators. Beyond the paper’s charms, David and Mary see a serious educational value and a possible impact on the future of printed news.

“It’d be fabulous if this little newspaper would encourage a new generation to turn to newspapers,” David said.

“News for All” is open at the Newseum through Jan. 4, 2015. For more information on the Bowdoin Street Times, please contact David Trumbull at david@trumbullofboston.org

Related Links:
July 29, 2014
Corporate Engagement Program

Representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Altria Group and ThinkFoodGroup receive a personal, after-hours tour of the Newseum.

Newseum Launches Corporate Engagement Program

Corporate and foundation partners have made it possible for the Newseum to grow and expand its work in the six years we have been on Pennsylvania Avenue. On July 24, we celebrated these partnerships, as current members of the program and new friends to the Newseum attended Corporate Engagement Night to help launch the Corporate Engagement Program, our new membership program.

This event was the first in a series where intimate groups of corporations and foundations will come to the museum for an in-depth look at our mission, and how corporate and foundation support helps bring the five freedoms of the First Amendment to life through Newseum exhibitions, programmatic discussions and educational efforts. Take a look at photos from the event on the Newseum’s Flickr page.

Participants enjoyed personalized, after-hours tours, explored exhibits with curatorial and collections experts, and attended a special reception in the “Pictures of the Year” exhibition space. The capstone experience was an interactive class put on by Newseum educators, similar to those available for free to student groups who visit the museum. In 2013, Newseum educators taught nearly 800 classes to the more than 226,000 students who visited the museum. During their firsthand look at the ways students and teachers engage with the Newseum, attendees discovered that many contemporary issues that are front and center in American life have First Amendment implications.

To find out more about the Corporate Engagement Program, or request an invitation to the next Corporate Engagement Night, contact Kristin Goler, Manager/Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 202-292-6283 or kgoler@newseum.org.

July 22, 2014
The Source's executive chef Scott Drewno (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

The Source's executive chef Scott Drewno (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

Celebrity Chef Tour at The Source

Wolfgang Puck’s The Source will be D.C. foodie heaven on Monday, Aug. 4, as Executive Chef Scott Drewno plays host chef to the James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour. The tour is an exclusive opportunity to meet some of America’s top culinary talents, enjoy a fantastic dinner, drink great wines and cocktails, and meet new food-minded friends.

The evening starts with a reception featuring tasting stations and cocktails from Derek Brown’s popular D.C. restaurants, including Columbia Room, Eat the Rich, Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency. Diners will then enjoy a fantastic dinner prepared by a coterie of celebrity chefs, including “Top Chef” winner Kristen Kish, Rasika’s Vikram Sunderam, China Café’s Peter Chang, Danny and Mama Lee of Mandu, Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall, Eric Ziebold of Cityzen, Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground, and The Source’s Drewno and pastry chef Duane Copeland.

Tickets are $200 per person inclusive and can be purchased online.

July 17, 2014
Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute

Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute

Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute

This week, the Newseum and Annenberg Learner welcome 24 teachers to a three-day Summer Institute that focuses on new media, the First Amendment and social change. Teachers at the institute, who were selected from more than 150 applicants, are participating in professional development workshops, curatorial sessions, primary source analysis and collaborative lesson planning with Newseum educators and staff.

All educators not participating in person are invited to join the institute virtually July 16-18 through social media. Follow @NewseumEd on Twitter and join the conversation with hashtag #ANEW14 as we discuss classroom tools and strategies for helping students use their First Amendment rights to advocate for social change. Plus, all registered virtual participants can earn prizes and awards along the way, including a classroom resource set of books, lesson plans and poster-size primary source reproductions!

For a complete list of opportunities, please see the virtual participant schedule. To register, complete this brief form.

Annenberg Learner is the exclusive sponsor of the 2014 Summer Teacher Institute.

Annenberg Learner

July 16, 2014
Discover the World of Communication

Discover the World of Communication

Newseum Through the Eyes of Students

We were pleased to welcome Discover the World of Communication, a program of American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C. , to the Newseum this summer. The program brings high school students to the nation’s capital to participate in professional, hands-on workshops designed to expose them to newsgathering opportunities and teaching them journalism skills, including digital reporting, writing, communication and filmmaking.

A group of DWC students made a video of their favorite experiences during their Newseum visit. Watch it here!

July 11, 2014

Remembering John Seigenthaler

slide 1
1/

John Seigenthaler as a young reporter at The Tennessean. (Courtesy John Seigenthaler)

slide 2
2/

As an editor, John Seigenthaler guided The Tennessean from a respectable Southern newspaper to a Pulitzer Prize-winning powerhouse. (Courtesy The Associated Press)

slide 3
3/

John Seigenthaler with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. (Courtesy John Seigenthaler)

slide 4
4/

John Seigenthaler with his wife of 59 years, the former Dolores Watson. (Newseum collection)

slide 5
5/

John Seigenthaler at his office at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn. (Courtesy Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

slide 6
6/

John Seigenthaler hosting a program at the First Amendment Center with his son, John. (Newseum collection)

Related Video

The Freedom Rides

In 1961, John Seigenthaler, then an administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, brokered an agreement with Alabama governor John Malcolm Patterson for the safe passage of the Freedom Riders. As he attempted to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., Seigenthaler was attacked by an angry mob of Klansmen and knocked unconscious from a blow to the head by a lead pipe.

The Freedom Forum and Newseum mourn the loss of John L. Seigenthaler, veteran newspaper editor and publisher, author, and founder of the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center. Seigenthaler died July 11, 2014, in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn. He was 86.

"John Seigenthaler was a gift to our country," said Jim Duff, chief executive officer of the Newseum and president and CEO of the Freedom Forum. "He devoted his life to making certain that liberty and justice for all applied to all. His passing is an enormous loss to his many, many friends and country."

For 43 years, Seigenthaler was an award-winning journalist and publisher of The Tennessean, a Gannett-owned newspaper located in Nashville. In 1982, he became founding editorial director of Gannett's new national newspaper, USA Today, based in Northern Virginia. He traveled between the two cities for nearly a decade until he retired from both newspapers in 1991.

Seigenthaler was a passionate champion of the First Amendment and traveled extensively to teach and promote its ideals. After his retirement from news, he founded the First Amendment Center in Nashville with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values. Located at Vanderbilt University, the center was renamed the John Seigenthaler Center in 2002 on the recommendation of the Freedom Forum board of trustees in honor of Seigenthaler's 75th birthday.

"The citizen who reads news regularly participates, perhaps without realizing it, in a constant civic engagement of ideas — the very stuff of self-governance," he said.

Seigenthaler was a generous patron of the Newseum and a founding member of the Friends of the First Amendment Society.

Seigenthaler left journalism briefly in the early 1960s to serve in the U.S. Department of Justice as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. His work in the field of civil rights led to his service as chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides in 1961, in which black and white activists rode interstate buses to defy Jim Crow laws that enforced segregated travel. During that crisis, while attempting to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., he was viciously attacked by an angry mob of Klansmen and knocked unconscious from a blow to the head by a lead pipe.

In 2004, Seigenthaler chaired the three-member panel that investigated former USA Today reporter Jack Kelley for plagiarism and for writing false stories. The panel's 28-page report led to the resignations and reassignment of three newsroom executives, including the newspaper's editor, and prompted strict policies at the paper regarding the use of anonymous sources.

That same year, Seigenthaler's critically acclaimed biography of President James K. Polk, a former Tennessee congressman and governor, was published by Times Books.

In 2005, Seigenthaler was embroiled in a controversy with Wikipedia, which published an unedited, unchecked and inaccurate biography of him that had been written by an anonymous prankster. In an op-ed column published in USA Today, Seigenthaler called Wikipedia a "flawed and irresponsible research tool." As a result of the public outcry, Wikipedia instituted new policies to safeguard against future hoaxes and inaccuracies.

Gene Policinski, who worked closely with Seigenthaler as senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, called him "a national treasure."

"John was an extraordinary journalist and a passionate defender of those in need or facing discrimination. He was a true citizen patriot who saw the core freedoms of the First Amendment as essential to what it means to be an American. His legacy is a call to the rest of us to study, defend and advance the ideals embodied in the First Amendment."

Seigenthaler is survived by his wife of 59 years, Dolores; son John Michael Seigenthaler, a news anchor for Al Jazeera America; daughter-in-law Kerry Brock; and grandson, Jack.

Related Links:
July 11, 2014

Tributes for John Seigenthaler

Family, friends and colleagues of John Seigenthaler remember the civil rights and First Amendment icon who died July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 14, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville.

"We celebrate his life — his devotion to social justice, his advocacy of human rights, and his enduring loyalty to friends and family. He was proud of his hometown, Nashville, and grateful for the opportunity to share his energy and passion with this community."

— John Michael Seigenthaler, John Seigenthaler's son

"As a journalist, John did much more than bear witness to political and community affairs; he helped shape Nashville's story, laying much of the groundwork for us to become the great city we are today. Personally, he has been an adviser and a friend. Our city will feel his absence."

— Mayor Karl Dean, Nashville, Tenn.

"John Seigenthaler is one of my favorite people on the planet. I wrote ‘The Wind Done Gone,' and Margaret Mitchell's estate sued me for $10 million. I was so distraught. I remember being up in my bedroom and trying to figure out who to call. I called John Seigenthaler, and he told me to appeal to justice. He assured me that good and right people would be on the side of the book being published."

— Alice Randall, author

"I knew John for more than 40 years, and I loved him."

— Michael G. Gartner, principal owner of the Iowa Cubs; former Newseum Institute trustee

"John Seigenthaler was one of a kind. We both came from different worlds — geographic, professional, personal — but we had two things in common: Our joy of journalism and the fact that we both talked funny. RIP, good friend."

— John Quinn, former USA Today editor; founder of the Newseum Institute's Chips Quinn Scholars Program

"John was extremely supportive of me when I arrived at NPT 15 years ago, where he was already an established presence and host of "A Word on Words" for 25 years and counting. He had an invaluable influence on the way we conducted ourselves as journalists at NPT, and was always there to provide us guidance. He was also a gifted Nashville historian; always willing to be a resource for us on our Nashville history documentaries."

— Beth Curley, president and CEO, Nashville Public Television

"John Seigenthaler was not just an amazing student of history, he made history."

— Phil Currie, retired senior vice president/news, Gannett Co. Inc.

"John was one of those rare people who was even better than his great reputation. A man of great integrity, passion and compassion, his commitment to the First Amendment was unflagging. We've lost a very good man."

— Ken Paulson, president, First Amendment Center; dean, College of Mass Communication, Middle Tennessee State University

"John Seigenthaler has been a cherished friend and trusted mentor since he hired me to work for him in 1971 at the then "Nashville Tennessean." In all the years since, I have frequently turned to John for advice and counsel. And I found, as did so many others he mentored and inspired, that his wisdom, character and insight were always unique and invaluable. He commanded respect from all who knew him because of his integrity and character and because he was always a force for good in everything he did. Our state and our nation have lost a true giant."

— Al Gore, former vice president of the United States

“John Seigenthaler — a true patriot, glorious friend and one huge, heroic, happy heart —who lived his life as Bobby hoped we all would: ‘To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.’"

— Ethel Kennedy, wife of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

Additional comments can be found @Newseum on Twitter.

July 3, 2014
One Nation With News for All

More than 1,200 newspapers serve ethnic communities across America. Current front pages from some of those publications are on display at the Newseum. (Jonathan Thompson/Newseum)

"News for All" Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

The Newseum's newest exhibit, "One Nation With News for All," is featured in the online edition of Smithsonian magazine this month. The article explores the exhibit's unique artifacts and some of the pioneering journalists whose stories helped shape the exhibit, and includes thoughts from lead exhibit writer Sharon Shahid and Newseum chief executive officer Jim Duff.

Read the full article here.


June 26, 2014
Howard Baker

Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. (Sam Kittner/Newseum)

Remembering Howard Baker

The Newseum mourns the loss of Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr., a longtime trustee, secretary and counselor for the museum and its parent company the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy. Baker was 88.

"Like all who knew him, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Sen. Howard Baker," said Jim Duff, chief executive officer of the Newseum and president and CEO of the Freedom Forum. "He was loved by people of all political persuasions, faiths, and regions of the country and world. He was a great American. He will be greatly missed."

Baker joined the Freedom Forum's board of trustees in 2005 and retired in 2008. He continued to serve as a trustee emeritus and corporate secretary until his death. During his term at the Freedom Forum, Baker helped guide the Newseum in its move from Arlington, Va., to its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Baker's political career began in 1964 when he unsuccessfully campaigned to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Estes Kefauver, who died in office. Baker won the Senate election two years later and represented Tennessee for 18 years. He became Senate majority leader in 1981 and was White House chief of staff during President Ronald Reagan's second term from 1987 to 1988.

During his term in Congress, Baker was known as the "Great Conciliator" for his ability to compromise and build bridges. His stepmother once described him as "like the Tennessee River. He flows right down the middle."

In 2005, he rejoined Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, the law firm founded in Tennessee by his grandfather in 1888. Duff was a managing partner of the Washington office of the law firm.

Baker is survived by his wife, former Kansas Sen. Nancy L. Kassebaum, two children, four grandchildren and two sisters.

June 25, 2014
KD7 Launch Event

KD7 Launch Event June 25, 2014

Nike KD 7 Launch Event

Today at the Newseum, Nike Basketball will unveil Kevin Durant's new signature shoe, the KD7, in a live online broadcast event from the Knight TV Studio at 12PM ET. Broadcast legend Ahmad Rashad will host Durant and Nike designer Leo Chang for the live announcement. Rashad is no stranger to the Newseum – he narrates the popular Newseum video, "Press Box: The History of Sports Reporting" in the Sports Theater on the Concourse Level. Viewers can stream today’s event at youtube.com/nikebasketball

June 24, 2014

2014 First Amendment Survey: More Support for Student Speech

WASHINGTON — One third of Americans still think the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new survey on the state of the First Amendment released June 24 by the Newseum Institute.

The survey, conducted in May, determines public knowledge and opinion about the First Amendment and related issues. The results were released June 24 at a luncheon for high school students attending the 2014 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference.

"It's valuable to know the five freedoms, but it's even more important to know how we can use them," said Gene Policinski, Newseum Institute chief operating officer and senior vice president of the Institute's First Amendment Center.

This year, the survey also found:

  • 69 percent of Americans believe that people who make defamatory comments on social media should be subject to the same legal consequences as someone who makes similar comments on television or in print
  • 68 percent think public high school journalists should not need prior approval to explore controversial subjects.
  • 36 percent defined a journalist as someone who creates stories based on objective fact; 21 percent defined a journalist as someone who works for an established news operation; 16 percent said a journalist is an individual who reports to an audience; 14 percent said a journalist is someone who is paid to gather news
June 20, 2014
2013 Free Spirit Scholars

2013 Free Spirit Scholars in front of the White House. (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference Begins

Fifty-one aspiring journalists are beginning to arrive in the nation's capital to participate in the annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an extraordinary five-day experience hosted by the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C., June 21-26. The program annually awards $1,000 college scholarships to rising high school seniors who are interested in journalism careers and who demonstrate qualities of "free spirit."

While at the conference, the scholars get involved in a variety of learning experiences at the Newseum and elsewhere in Washington, focusing on the three branches of government and how journalists cover them. The Free Spirits, who come to the conference from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, will visit the USA Today newsroom, the United States District Court, a taping of "Meet the Press" hosted by David Gregory, and also have the opportunity to be tourists and see the sights around D.C.

Students also will participate in panel discussions with working journalists from, among others, CNN, The Washington Post and Time magazine, as well as influential leaders from the civil rights movement, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Dr. Ernest "Rip" Patton. A special conference program Monday, June 23, honors PBS "NewsHour" anchor Gwen Ifill with the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism. The civil rights and Neuharth Award programs will be live streamed on newseum.org, as will a program revealing this year's State of the First Amendment survey results.

The Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, begun in 1999, honors Al Neuharth, the founder of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and USA Today. Many alumni of the program have gone on to notable and successful journalism careers and have returned to participate in this year's conference, including Andrew Springer, senior editor of social media for ABC News; Katie Aberbach, editor at culture magazine; and Devna Shukla, editorial producer for CNN's hallmark program, "Anderson Cooper 360."

Follow the conference on Twitter: #FreeSpirit14

June 17, 2014
Hillary Clinton

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a town hall at the Newseum on January 29, 2013. (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

Hillary Clinton Town Hall at the Newseum

Submit your question for Hillary Clinton here and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour might ask it during CNN's town hall meeting with Clinton at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Newseum. This will be the only network televised town hall that the former Secretary of State participates in during the closely watched rollout of her new memoir, "Hard Choices." Leading up to the broadcast, Jake Tapper will anchor a special hour of “The Lead” live from the Newseum. Following the Town Hall, Wolf Blitzer will anchor The Situation Room from the Newseum, where he will speak to members of the audience.


    • Tickets to DC's Top Attractions
    • Washington News Museum Annual Pass
    • Today's Front Pages
    • Shop Online
  • Support the Newseum
  • Places to Visit in Washington, DC near the National Mall
  • Press Info
  • General Info
Related Links:
  • Freedom Forum

FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTubeGoogle+
PinterestFlickrFoursquarePodcasttumblr


See what others say about Newseum on TripAdvisor.