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A day at the Newseum

A good friend of ours is visiting from Alabama, so today I met her and another good friend for a few hours at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. She's a journalist by trade, and this was a site on her list--and mine. Seven floors of exhibits, history and interactive tech with too many interesting pieces to name, from memorable photojournalistic moments to the actual Unabomber shed in the G-Men and Journalists exhibit to a humongous screen displaying live feeds from all the cable news media to a towering wall of world-wide front page coverage of September 11 to front pages on display from throughout history.

Outside the building, the First Amendment is displayed on a six-stories of stone, reflecting this country's commitment to freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition (funny, how those all seem to go hand-in-hand more often than not). . . .

The idea of a free press was so important to Thomas Jefferson that he said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter" . . .

Not that the established media world doesn't have its problems . . .

. . . so, I had to smile when I ran across the quotes below (from two opposites on the political spectrum) regarding the power of the Internet and blogging to put into the hands of those outside the established media world when it comes to the ability to report events, opinions and news.

On a personal note, I've always resonated with and been passionate about the idea of a free press. I think there is great power in exploring and reporting the truth of events and issues, as well as a tremendous amount of responsibility. For me, it all resonates deeply with Scripture, an echo of Jesus' declaration that "the truth will set you free" with a call towards Paul's admonition to speak the truth in love. When it works right, it has shone light into darkness, spoke for those with no voice and moved us towards right-ness. Yeah, we mess it up. A lot. But I think I'm with Jefferson: it's worth the risk.

(Images: top, an ecard made at one of the interactive exhibits at the museum; the rest are mine)