A Monument to Freedom of Speech

Anthony at the Newseum

By Dean’s Intern Anthony Brunner at Newseum

As students in the School of Communication, we rely on the First Amendment. Whether we’re focusing on Film, Journalism, or Public Communication, we depend on the ability to present our intended message without fear of government censorship or persecution. Without free speech protections, we wouldn’t have the freedom to tell stories we feel are important, or use our chosen platform to criticize or expose events that would otherwise be suppressed.

The Newseum is a monument to this idea, and features a wide range of exhibits devoted to the art of reporting, as well as the importance of the First Amendment. While exploring its massive Pennsylvania Ave. location, visitors learn how important the press was throughout the history of civilization, and how free speech laws (or lack thereof) affect societies around the world. Many of these exhibits feature video work in the form of short educational films and interactive kiosks. In addition to these, the Newseum features a Big Screen Theater that showcases specially designed content on its 100 foot long screen.

As an AU Dean’s Intern at the Newseum, I spend my summer in the broadcasting department, where these great video pieces are created. During the last 5 weeks I’ve not only been able witness the production process for these exhibits from start to finish, but also get to contribute to them.

When I arrived on my first day, I was immediately immersed into production. The Newseum’s new exhibit on Vietnam was about to launch, and I was given the opportunity to work on the video content. My duties included captioning videos, color correcting archival footage, and digitally restoring old war photographs. It’s not every day that you’re asked to clean up a photo of Bob Schieffer reporting in Vietnam that would be shown to Schieffer himself during the grand opening of the exhibit.

Now that Reporting Vietnam has wrapped, I’m working on two of the Newseum’s upcoming exhibitions: Nationals at 10 and Inside the FBI. In addition to various post-production tasks related to these exhibits, I’ve been combing through the Newseum’s vast library of archival tapes, allowing me to see hours of footage of major news events from the last decade. These tapes are analyzed for important clips, and digitized for use in upcoming video content.

Working on these projects has given me in-depth exposure to the production process, and sitting in on producer/editor meetings has been very beneficial. This is a side of production we as students typically aren’t exposed to in our classes, and I feel that I have a better idea of what working in an actual production house is like. I’ve learned so much from the broadcast department staff, and look forward to even more great learning opportunities as my internship continues.