The Americans’ love of story
Posted on September 6, 2011
4 min read
Greetings from the US capital – Washington DC.
In the week and a half I have been in the US, THE story of the day was, in no particular order, the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication (and its subsequent deferral), Steve Jobs’ retirement as CEO of Apple, the earthquake that shook Virginia and New York, and Hurricane Irene. Certainly has been an action packed holiday so far.
It really is true that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping. For two days we read the obituary of Mr Jobs, who, by the way, is still alive. (At least he gets to read his obituaries – which is more than most people!) We all wish Mr Jobs well in his fight to regain good health, and thank him for the vision that put so many amazing devices in our homes and music to our ears.
Then the fear of Hurricane Irene’s approaching North East USA. The Carolinas (North and South), New Jersey, Washington DC, New York and more, all got a good soaking (over 8″ of rain in some places).
The precautions were excellent – the Mayors told folk to stay in doors or evacuate (where necessary) and people listened. There were unfortunately some lives lost, but it could have been a lot worse. I saw some broken tree branches and some sandbags around the centre of DC, but otherwise no real damage. The news on no less than five TV stations ran for 27 hours straight – all focused on Irene. That said, the weather was so nice all day today – we walked for miles through the Smithsonian museums, to the White House and other famous sites. No hint of the storm.
Skip 12 hours…..not a hint of the storm in DC as we visited two fascinating museums. The International Spy Museum is worth a visit – if only to increase your awareness of what might be happening around you. This museum offers at least 3 hours of very interesting and interactive displays that left us amazed at the daring of some, and angry at the deceit of others.
A short walk to probably one of the most comprehensive collections of news in one place – the Newseum. Starting with the front page headlines from every US state out the front, you get the opportunity to see how the First Amendment is put into practice. Tributes to the journalists who lost their lives performing their duty bringing us the news.
Original copies of the first known newsbooks from hundreds of years ago, the outbreak of wars, Apollo 11’s successful landing on the moon, Elvis’ death, and many many more newspapers are on display. They even have the original fire escape door from the Watergate Hotel that was taped open to allow for a quick escape after the bugs were planted. The FBI Museum collection has been incorporated, as has the Unibomber’ s manifesto and wooden hut that housed him for several years. Pulitzer Prize photographs, the presidential photographers’ candid photo collection, coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the newspaper headlines of September 11 – it’s all here for you to see.
The technology used to bring us the news — from the original printing press through to old cameras, typewriters, the Machine of the Year (the first Mac), television and radio studios, — it’s all here in the Newseum. You could spend the better part of the day in the Newseum, and it would not be enough.
The next chapter in news is being written — daily. Let us know about your most memorable news day and what you were doing when the news broke.