Last weekend, I visited the Newseum. I had never been there before, but since I like going to museums, I was looking forward to visiting it this weekend. The Newseum documents the past and present of the Press, Media, and Reporting. Although it may sound pretty boring, The Newseum is anything but boring. As I was walking through the museum, I noticed how The Newseum shows the behind the scenes of reporting, news and media as well as the risks and implications that journalist has while doing their job.
During this visit to the Newseum, I have to admit that I felt shivers several times. It wasn’t just the stories that made me evoked emotions, but the stories behind those stories. I believe it is important to understand the way journalists work. By understanding a journalist job, we become better News consumers since it allows us also understand the reporter’s perspective and the role they play in stories. One of the exhibits that made me come to this realization was the 9/11 Exhibit.
The 9/11 exhibit is a very touching and moving display located on the 4th floor of the Newseum.
This exhibit has a large antenna of one of the towers of the World Trade Center as well as the front pages of many newspapers from around the world the day after behind it the terrorist attack. Around the antenna, there is a timeline of how the news was responding to the events happening since the first plane crashed to the next day. There is also a dark back room which plays video interviews of the Journalists that were reporting about the events that day from Manhattan.
As a public relations student, I believe that if 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t anticipate every crisis. 9/11 was an event that proves that a healthy relationship with news organizations is essential in times of crisis. While thousands of people ran away from the scene, journalists were heading towards the towers. Not to get their name out or to sell copy, but because it was a story that needed to be told. Sharing information, right there, on the spot. Crisis communication is an essential part of public relations. During this kind of events, we, as PR professionals, need to find ways to communicate quickly, accurately and efficiently to key publics, whether consumers, investors or employees. A failure to adequately address public safety intensifies the damage from a crisis. Therefore, it is essential that we, as public relations professionals, understand that Crisis Management is designed to prevent, in this case, lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.
While it was certainly a short visit, I learned so much from the Newseum, I highly recommend others to visit.