BSU Communications Get Journalism History Lesson
By Ashonda Bethea-Ruth
Bowie State University students from the Department of Communications recently visited the Newseum in Washington, giving them a first-hand look at the rough-and-tumble world of journalism.
The trip was designed to broaden the minds of the aspiring journalists and to get them out of the classroom to get a realistic view of what they are reading about in their textbooks, said Dr. Kehbuma Langmia, assistant professor of communications, who organized the outing.
"Since we are dealing with the era of new media, it is the perfect place to see the evolution of media today," Langmia said.
Upon entering the Newseum, each student was handed a ticket and led through the first level floor, where a press conference was being held on the upcoming National Cherry Blossom Festival. The tour was given by a volunteer guide, who led the students and a group of other visitors through the museum.
Unlike many museums, where it doesn't matter necessarily what floor you start on, in the Newseum, it is, for your first visit at least, that you start from the very top, and work your way down.
There were many exhibits in the Newseum that covered not only American news and newspapers, but news all over the world. On the top level of the Newseum, a gallery of 80 front pages of worldwide newspapers is displayed through a long wall of glass. And if a visitor wants to see the front page of another location not being displayed, they can go to the touch-screen computer, enter the required information, and that page will be displayed right in front of them.
Housed on the first floor of the Newseum were eight sections of the Berlin Wall, and an East German guard tower, in which the Newseum had to be built after its placing do to the towers tall three-story structure.
What impressed communications sophomore Kelley Beathea the most was the exhibit that house famed criminals, that especially of the one John Dillinger; a famous American bank robber during the 1930s, and had recently a movie made about his life, entitled Public Enemies.
"They actually had his death mask," Beathea said, referring to an impression of Dillinger's face made after he died. "Who has a death mask?!"
Beathea said that what she also found interesting was the actual D.C. sniper shooters car on display. Both of these artifacts were on display in the FBI exhibit that has famous American criminals, and their journalistic views.
Of one of the many artifacts, was the cabin in which the Unabomber lived in.
When asked what he enjoyed most about the Newseum, Langmia could not name just one part. "I enjoyed Tim Russert's office...the 9/11 exhibit and ABC News host ‘Stephanopoulos's studio.' The information about the tinted windows he said was very informative."
When asked if she would recommend the Newseum to anyone, Beathea replied, "Definitely. I'm all about learning stuff you wouldn't learn in a class room. You learn so much and see things you would have never seen. As a communications major I the Newseum is...your profession. If you don't know your history, you're bound to repeat it."
The Newseum was built to exemplify the words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects citizens' rights of freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly.
At the end of the trip, the BSU students came back with a first-hand look at many of never before seen artifacts, and new information about news and journalism. This museum is one that will keep growing, until the news stops.