d.c.

I’m going to be real right off the bat. Whoever convinced me not to take my camera to washington d.c. (my now favorite place in the world EVER), sucks a lot.

I fell in love with d.c. the SECOND I stepped off the smelly train. The hustle and bustle, the friendliness, the architecture, the museums literally my heart weeps that I’m not currently there. Not to mention my favorite news media is the Post (that movie wins every award imho).

Please enjoy my ludicrous vsco-ed iPhone pictures that I now regret were not from my Canon.

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Okay so first – let’s talk about the Newseum. If I could live here, I would. This pup doesn’t get as much attention as the Smithsonians because it isn’t free. IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY YALL (insert a ton of clapping emojis). It makes me emotional to think about how incredible each and every exhibit/item was.

Every day, newspapers from across the nation send in their front pages, each of which is on display at the very beginning of the tour. They’re also on display outside (each state displays one paper).

One of the most chilling parts was the 9/11 memorial, with pieces of debris adjacent to front pages from the entire globe. There was something so surreal about visiting the 9/11 memorial, but seeing how it impacted my kind of people hurt in a new way. It felt as if the only thing that separated me from that day was a thin piece of glass. A video played, but all I could stare at was the dust-stained camera that was used to document the scariest day in our nation’s history.

The Newseum also has a wall dedicated to journalists who have been killed on assignment. I was SHOCKED to see how many faces covered over half of it. Reading each story and trying to wrap my head around the idea that free press isn’t always free was so hard.

On a lighter note, the Gutenberg press is obviously the Gutenberg press… but what I REALLY fangirled over was the “bong hits 4 jesus” sign. If you didn’t take comm law with KRP, in the early 2000s, Joseph Frederick held up this sign during a school event, but Deborah Morse, the principal, ordered him to take it down. Eventually it got to the SC, which ruled 5-4 in favor of Morse that school officials CAN prohibit free speech (directly opposing the court’s ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines) because students’ First Amendment rights don’t extend past the school gates. If you think it’s as cool as I do, you can read about it here.

We visited a ton of other historical and not-so-historical places along the way, like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House and Library of Congress. We walked through a farmers market and stopped by a few used-book stores (where I’d “accidentally” buy $40 worth of books). So here’s a few pictures of me and the places.

Oh… and I can’t forget about the amazing WaPo experience. We couldn’t go inside for safety reasons, but we met two reporters – Marty Weil and Siobhan O’Grady. Both had wildly different, but such good stories to tell. Marty worked at the Post during Watergate and Siobhan has worked internationally.

Lauren Franco