Inauguration blog, day 2: The Newseum, Georgetown, and a turtle named Pokey

by Henrietta Reily, Amanda Tu, and Olivia Millar

Our group started off the day with a new bus. Though it was far fancier than the previous one (free of rattles and screeches and random alarms) though it did not fully accommodate our large party in seat numbers. A few students who had traveled to DC separately had to take their own car, though they joined us for the day’s activities. Walking up to the first event of the day, the Newseum, a newspaper from every state in our country was displayed, each one changed daily. Upon entry, a Jumbotron played the news, and quick world and national news from many sources scrolled across screens. The whole aura of the museum was one of journalism. The building itself was inspirational. The currency of the Newseum was shocking. The daily papers alone would be an incredible task; few museums change their exhibits even a few times each year. Also, an entire exhibit was dedicated to some of the best news photography just in the past year. Social media and current topics were put first. Even the permanent exhibits were updated, and were completely relevant to our world today.

 

ImageOne of our favorite exhibits  at the Newseum was the First Amendment station. This area had boards discussing each of the amendment’s freedoms (speech, press, petition, assembly, and religion), its origins, and its controversies. We had already studied the First Amendment in journalism class and at WKU’s Journalism Scholars’ Day, so we enjoyed seeing a topic we feel so passionately about discussed outside of the classroom. Some of the examples that Mr. Miller used in his lectures were on display in the museum, such as a copy of the newspaper Publick Occurrences, which was banned for criticizing the government. Additionally, the First Amendment exhibit featured a section about student journalists and student press rights. While most of our group came into the museum strictly anti-censorship, the exhibit made us think about what words (if any) shouldn’t be allowed in school. For example, in 2007, a high school student was suspended for holding a sign at school reading “BONG HiTS FOR JESUS”. He sued the school principal, and eventually lost his case at the Supreme Court, with the explanation that the school had the right to discourage illegal drug use. Several other cases were presented in which students expressed hateful messages via t-shirts and school newspapers. We left the exhibit more confused than we arrived. While all of our group members believe that student journalists have the right to explore controversial issues, are students allowed to use their constitutional protections to discriminate? Were schools unconstitutional in preventing these teens from getting their word across? None of us could provide a clear cut answer to any of these questions, but we will have to think about them as we move forward in our J&C careers.

 

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After our trip to the Newseum, we boarded the bus and drove through heavy traffic to the Georgetown area to shop and look about. We arrived to the neighborhood and walked onto the brick sidewalk. We split up into groups and began to walk down the shop covered scenic street. We were walking down the road when we saw an old house with a park ranger standing in front. We were skeptic but turned around to see a small yellow-shelled turtle in the hands of the park ranger. The turtle’s name was Pokey and had a lack of calcium when a family rescued him, so his shell’s growth was stunted, and the shell had a yellowish tint. The ranger went on to tell us that he was seventeen, and they knew he was a boy because of his red eye. Our next stop was the Nike store. We walked into the organized store and immediately felt the need to exercise. The store slightly dazed our group, because we do not have a store like this in Louisville.

 

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Another successful day in Washington D.C., rounding out the halfway point of our trip! We look forward to the Inauguration tomorrow!

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James Miller is RedEye’s faculty adviser. This is Mr. Miller’s fifth year as staff adviser, 11th year at Manual, and 14th year as a JCPS teacher. In a previous life, he worked at WHAS-11 and the Courier-Journal.