I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary as president and CEO of the Newseum. It has been an exhilarating year, and I am very proud to be part of the pre-eminent organization that explains, promotes and defends the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Thank you for making our work possible with your generous support.
My time at the Newseum has coincided with deepening national concern about the state of the First Amendment. Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post voiced the worries of many when she recently wrote that this is the most troubling time for free expression worldwide. We see journalists being coerced, campus debates being shut down, widespread controversy about the nature of religious freedom and a general unease about how citizens will be informed given the traumatic disruptions in traditional news sources caused by social media. Our own annual survey of public attitudes toward freedom, done in conjunction with USA TODAY, reveals that while the American people strongly support the ideal of free expression, only 39 percent of Americans could name even one of the five First Amendment freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Around the world, press freedom continues to decline.
The mission of the Newseum, therefore, has never been more important. We continually work to help Americans gain a better understanding of what freedom means in this contentious age, and we educate the public on how we can protect our foundational freedoms. The following is only a partial list of the programs and events we sponsored in the past year:
Moving forward, I am dedicated to keeping the Newseum at the cutting edge of national and international conversations about the meaning of — and threats to — freedom. With our outstanding building located at the very center of Washington and our committed staff, we are uniquely positioned to take on this role.
I look forward to seeing you when you visit the Newseum to see our exhibits, attend our programs and participate in our educational efforts. I would be delighted to discuss with you how together we can make sure that the First Amendment remains vibrant in the 21st century. Thank you for all that you do for the Newseum and its vital mission.
President and CEO, Newseum