Mingling with the media - Newseum

posted on: Sunday, February 26, 2012

“Uncle Vernon: What were you doing under our window, boy?
Harry Potter: Listening to the news.
Uncle Vernon: Listening to the news! Again?
Harry: Well, it changes every day, you see.”
― J.K. Rowling

 (FDR talking to the press)

This weekend, Aaron and I managed to go to the Newseum before our Groupon expired. Although we only had an hour or two to spare, it was well worth the trip for both of us, for very different reasons. If I had a nickel for every minute that Aaron spends reading the news, I would be a very wealthy woman! So this place was heaven for him. 

I, on the other hand, was invigorated by the impact and influence that the media had in the campaigns from a very early time. Working in PR has made me more aware of these things, and I am always thinking of it in a public relations and media/reporter frame of mind.  We spent an hour or so in the exhibition titled "Every Four Years" that covered campaign reporting from the time of FDR, who had a knack for winning over reporters with his radio persona. He used simple language and analogies as he pictured the American people sitting in their living rooms listening to the radio. 

I wandered downstairs to the Pulitzer Prize Photographs and was instantly mesmerized. I am a photographer at heart, along with a few other things :), and I could have spent a long time in there. My mind's eye sees things that can immediately be frozen in time, and I long to have it be so with the click of a lens.  There were some haunting photographs that tell such a profound story that you can almost imagine yourself there; imagine the thoughts of the people in the photographs, and in some cases, wish you could change the outcome. It was great to watch some b-roll of the actual prize winners talk about their winning photographs, and share their experiences.  

Here is one of my favorites: 

William Beall was photographing the Chinese Merchants Association parade in Washington, DC. There was plenty to shoot. People on the sidewalk. Chinese dancers and paper dragons. Out of the corner of his eye, Beall saw a small boy step into the street. In front of the child was a dancing Chinese dragon—and a tall, young policeman. The policeman intercepted the child cautioning him back from the passing parade. Then Beall saw his shot. He fired one off with this camera and froze forever a look of childhood innocence. Isn't that the cutest boy, ever?? 

A wonderful few hours together and I hope we return to the Newseum soon! 

(Media question to Beatles during first U.S. tour 1964)
"How do you find America?"
"Turn left at Greenland.”
― Ringo Starr


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