By Zachary Kersh
Some call it news. Some refer to it as journalism. Others refer to it as the fourth branch of our government. Since the creation of our American government, the founding fathers stressed the importance of the press. Being the group who provide the public with information, the press is vitally important. Americans deserve to be properly educated on the things that directly impact almost every aspect of their daily lives.
As a class, we visited the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Friday, March 15th. There, we gained insight on why we, as young journalists, inform others. Throughout the trip, we were introduced to interesting and eye-opening facts that caught the attention of not only our class, but the numerous other people enjoying their visits. Glenelg Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief Jacob Kersh emphasized, “The experience at the Newseum was really interactive and I was able to see how journalists go about doing their work.” The trip will have a profound impact on the way we, as student journalists, write as a result of the insight that we were exposed to.
The tour followed a path that showcased different exhibits. First, we observed the many different ways reporters captured moments by use of technology. It was interesting to see how much technology and its importance in reporting has changed over time. Sophomore Nathaniel Sawitzki, who recently visited the Newseum with his family, said, “Noticing how far reporting has come is really cool. Technology back then seemed primitive compared to now. It shows just how determined those people were to do their jobs.” The trip included many aspects of a journalists daily lives. From parchment notepads to satellite vans, reporting really has come a long way.
Next, we witnessed how the public conveyed their beliefs through the Berlin Wall, after it was erected to divide Germany into different sectors. A segment of the wall in the museum enlightened us to realize that anyone can be a journalist, even without a website or newspaper. They simply need a platform in order to convey to others their beliefs. In addition, it represented the importance of journalism in overcoming a closed and oppressive society. The wall reminded me of a physical op-ed that will forever be cemented in time.
The museum also includes a visual depicting all countries and their scale of freedom regarding news. Besides the northwestern section of the map, most countries are either moderately free or not free at all. Justin Robertson, who aspires to be a future journalist, states, “It allowed me to see the importance of journalism in the real world. It makes me want to be a journalist more because in America we can freely voice our opinions.” America’s freedom of the press allows the people to control the country, not the government.
The following exhibit showcased various Pulitzer Prize winners. The prize is awarded to people whose pictures are more than a single still frame. Their pictures contain a deeper meaning. They convey messages through imagery, and have large impacts on society. At the exhibit, with the click of a button, vivid imagery documents the pain of poverty, the ecstasy of victory and the triumph of redemption. The gallery provides winners of the prize from every year since it was first awarded in 1942. This part of the tour seemed to be a class favorite. Sophomore JT Shatzer explains, “It was cool seeing journalism in a new light. It’s different than the words that we write, yet it has just as much, if not more of an impact on the public.” Pictures tell a thousand words, but Pulitzer Prize photographs tell a million.
Overall, the trip was a huge success. It not only got our class involved, but we realized how important journalism is and has been in the past. If you asked our whole class, I wouldn’t doubt that everyone would hope for a visit to the Newseum next year. Who knows, maybe it will even become a Journalism tradition!