Newseum Event Highlights Exhibit on Reporters Who Covered Katrina

Knight staff and trustees participated in the 2008 Gulf Coast Habitat for Humanity build.

Tonight, the Newseum marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by showcasing a new exhibit focusing on the reporters who covered the storm.

The exhibit highlights the challenges that two newspapers – The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Sun Herald of Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss. – faced in providing continuous information amid devastation. It also includes moving footage of broadcast reporters trying to balance their emotions and their jobs, along with a wall map from the Sun Herald’s newsroom, with pins that represented location of the confirmed dead.

Knight Foundation CEO and Newseum Chair Alberto Ibargüen will attend, along with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Sun Herald Publisher Ricky Mathews.

Ibargüen flew to Mississippi in the days following the storm. In an op-ed in the Sun Herald last month, he applauded the paper’s coverage and sense of mission:

“As someone who spent most of his adult life working in newspapers, few moments have ever made me feel better about what a newspaper could do than those mornings when I woke up in the parking lot of the Sun Herald. Power was only partially restored and gasoline was scarce, so television, radio or Internet news was hard to come by. Early every morning, I saw people coming from all over the area to get a copy of the Sun Herald, given out free during those weeks. They were coming to a kind of town meeting; a town meeting in print, where information was shared, ideas were exchanged and plans for the future began to take hold. The Sun Herald was just like the people for whom it was written. It was a triumph over the adversity of the storm, the embodiment of hard work and determination, hope for a better tomorrow and an unshakable belief in themselves.”

After the storm, Knight Foundation invested $1 million in the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. The funding was critical in allowing Gov. Barbour to appoint the commission he needed to begin a long-term recovery led by local governments and fueled by the private sector.

In addition, Knight has been a major supporter of other local groups, including the  Gulf Coast Business Council’s regional recovery efforts, the Biloxi Housing Authority and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. In 2008, trustees and staff  joined former U.S. President Jimmy Carter as volunteers in Habitat for Humanity’s 25th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in the Gulf Coast.

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