August 30, 2007

Newseum Video Exclusive: An Interview with Richard Jewell

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Richard Jewell, 44, the hero of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, died Aug. 29 at his home in Woodbury, Ga. The county coroner said Jewell died of natural causes. He reportedly suffered serious medical problems stemming from diabetes.

Jewell was working as a security guard in Atlanta during the Olympics in 1996, when he found a suspicious knapsack. He alerted authorities and helped evacuate the area. The sack contained a bomb. When it exploded, it killed one person and wounded dozens more.

Days later, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the story that the FBI suspected Jewell may have been the bomber. Its report touched off a media frenzy. Jewell was never charged in the case. The real bomber turned out to be Eric Rudolph, now serving life in prison for his crimes. Jewell later sued several news organizations. NBC and CNN settled out of court. Jewell’s case against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was still in the courts at the time of his death.

Jewell talked about his experiences during an interview with the Newseum on Dec. 9, 2005. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a big story or a little story,” he said. “If you get it wrong, it’s going to hurt somebody.”

Jewell’s story will be featured in “Getting It Right,” one of several original documentaries in the new Newseum.

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