THE FREE PRESS and the First Amendment are critical to maintaining a democracy. Unfortunately, the role of the press is often misunderstood or is criticized by presidents.  Our current president is really no different than many others over history.

The Newseum in Washington, D.C. makes some strong points about how passive our government was under Franklin Roosevelt when millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust under Hitler’s regime.

Reports of what was taking place were not reported with much emphasis in our major newspapers, especially the New York Times. The war was almost over when the destruction of the Jews captured the attention of the front page with any emphasis.

The Newseum has six floors, covering various aspects of the news. The Hubbard Broadcasting concourse, with its many theaters and front page exhibits from all over the world, is outstanding. Every day the major daily newspapers submit their front page so you can read news from all over the world. They are posted in large size in three different areas.

Due to the cost of space it occupies, the museum will be moving to a new location so there will be interruptions to visitors. 

Kathy and I, along with Carter and his family, had an opportunity to visit the Newseum on Sunday, September 1.  A ticket is good for two days because you can’t possibly see or absorb it all in one, or maybe not even two days.

There are many films and theaters available throughout the entire complex.

History makes a major impact on the role of the press and the freedoms we enjoy, but a video of Vietnam and Lyndon Johnson relates that much was actually happening but not reported to the American people. Some of the major journalists of our country like Walter Cronkrite and Marvin Kalb took the risk to fight attempts at government censorship to tell the American people what was actually happening.

It’s not uncommon for the press and government to be in conflict and history tells the story.

CURIOSITY HELPS LEARNING.  It’s back to school time and that means a lot of things to a lot of people of all ages and walks of life.

It could be the first day of pre-school, the first day in high school, the first day in college, or the first day of a continuing education program. Whatever it is, it’s a new beginning.

It’s an important one. Education is a lifelong endeavor and being open to learning is an important aspect of a successful life and career.

Technology will change, careers will change, education will change.  An important part of life is preparation, and preparation is education.  Having a good attitude about education is more than half the challenge.

There is a lot of fear that goes with change! It’s important for parents to be there next to their children at whatever age, for encouragement and to be a listener.

I remember as a parent with our children entering college we were advised about budgeting of time and money. We were also told that it’s an adjustment period in growing relationships, especially in a dorm.

Time management becomes a big issue - considering how to balance study time with social time. It’s all part of the process of learning.

Learning also means asking questions, having a curious mind and recognizing there is no dumb question.

Self-confidence comes into play, as well as goal setting and a vision of what you would like to be doing in the future. You won’t know this until you have been exposed to various career paths and successful people in those paths.

Don’t waste your years ahead. Take control, which often means not following the crowd.

Learning is an enjoyable experience. Teachers and others are there because they want to be and they are prepared to help.

I look back on my education and recall teachers who made a difference in my life.  I reflect on their compliments, encouragement and direction.

I even married a teacher.  She has become a wonderful, lifelong partner who will even edit this column.

So let’s get on the bus and go.


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications

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