PHOENIX -- As a history buff, I always enjoy visiting Washington D.C. It had been several years since my last trip back there, but I went a few weeks ago and managed to get a few hours to myself to visit the Newseum.
I spent a couple of hours touring the many exhibits and displays and could have easily spent a whole day.
As a child of the 1960s, it was fascinating for me to see the news reports that are now history but that I heard and read about as they happened.
Looking at the giant slabs of the Berlin Wall and watching the old videos of people trying to escape East Berlin are still chilling.
There are some tremendous displays of old newspapers and early news gathering technology. I truly started to feel my years when I saw an early CONUS satellite truck — that was cutting-edge technology — as well as other equipment that I used and cursed at early in my career.
As a young reporter I covered the bombing death of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles in Phoenix. His car, with the hole in the floorboard, is one of the displays. It was eerie standing next to the car. I recalled the reports I did after the blast, the ones that detailed the numerous attempts at life-saving surgeries. Then, ultimately, his death.
Times have changed. Back then a bad newscast could always be discounted; you knew the broadcast signal, and the evidence of the screw-up, was headed for the outer reaches of the solar system. Nowadays an “f” bomb uttered over an open mic or factual error is held in perpetuity on a YouTube video.
Next time I get back to D.C., I want to spend some more time looking at those presentations and displays I missed the first time. The Newseum is a great resource and opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the work that so many great journalists have done, and are still doing.