National Newspaper Association supports establishment of fallen journalists memorial

From Tonda Rush, NNA General Counsel

National Newspaper Association President Andrew Johnson, publisher of the Dodge County Pionier, Mayville, Wisconsin, threw the support of NNA behind proposed legislation to allow a new memorial in Washington, D.C., for journalists killed in the line of duty.

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act of 2019 was introduced the week of the first anniversary of the shootings of five newspaper staffers at the Capital-Gazette, Annapolis, Maryland.

A new foundation operating at present under the Journalism Institute of the National Press Club has been formed to begin a seven-year process for designing, funding and establishing a memorial under the requirements of the Commemorative Works Act of 1986 (CWA).

The authorizing bills, S. 1969 and HR 3465, will allow the group to form under the CWA and officially begin its work in tandem with the National Park Service and other federal agencies to identify land and develop the project.

All funding for the memorial is intended to come from private sources.  David Dreier, chairman of the Tribune Publishing Co., and a former Republican Congressman from California, announced this week that some funding has already been identified.  Former Washington Post publisher Donald Graham said his new company, Graham Holdings, will work with the foundation.  Support from the Annenberg Foundation and the Michael and Jacky Ferro Foundation has already provided seed money to get the project launched.  Former director of the University of Missouri Journalism School’s Washington Program, Barbara Cochran, will manage the organization.

“NNA fully but sadly supports the need for this memorial,” Johnson said. “Journalists are the first line of democracy and, while they put their lives in danger along with our troops, public servants and first responders, they seldom get the recognition for the bravery required to follow the news into perilous zones.  This memorial is not a political one. It is a civic one. We think every Member of Congress should sign up in support of this legislation and we will be tracking the sponsors’ list as we make our rounds on other legislation this year. No tax dollars are involved and this is a bipartisan project. Our Congressional Action Team expects to put some shoe leather into this project over the summer so that we can do our part on behalf of our industry to help this worthy project move forward.”

The statement of lead House sponsor, Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-CA, explains the legislation here:

The Fallen Journalists Memorial website, including a link for donations to the effort, is here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *