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Earthquake Media: Japan's Hand-Written Newspapers in D.C.

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The latest addition to the Washington D.C.-based Newseum’s permanent collection is far from newfangled or tech-savvy. In fact, it’s a rotating display of seven original hand-written newspapers, scribed by a resilient cluster of staffers at a daily in the earthquake and tsunami ravaged city of Ishinomaki, Japan. Armed with flashlights, editors at the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun fueled their community’s need for up-to-date information by relying on the powers of felt-tip pens and poster paper, displaying their creations at relief centers and convenience stores throughout the city.

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“[These newspapers] show incredible ingenuity and drive in a time of disaster,” explains Cathy Trost, director of exhibits at the Newseum. She first learned about the paper’s heroic efforts through a Washington Post article and then acquired them through the assistance of a colleague who acted as an instrumental interpreter and liaison. The newspapers can be viewed at the Newseum’s Time Warner World News Gallery, where they are encased in simple artifact cases and accompanied by English translations.

The Newseum is located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Aarti Virani is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Mercier/Newseum collection/Courtesy Ishinomaki Daily Newspaper Corp.

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