Legislation Introduced to Establish Fallen Journalists Memorial

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 26, 2019) — Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to establish a permanent Fallen Journalists Memorial in Washington, D.C. The legislation and the announcement of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, that took the lives of five people on June 28, 2018.

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act of 2019 (H.R. 3465 and S. 1969) authorizes the newly established Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJM Foundation) to raise funds and work with appropriate entities to site and build a memorial to pay tribute to the journalists who have died while performing their jobs.

In the House, the legislation is sponsored by Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) and cosponsored by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).  In the Senate, the legislation is sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH). No federal funds will be used to plan or build the memorial.

“Today marks the beginning of what will be a long and collaborative process,” said David Dreier, Chairman of the Tribune Publishing Company, at an event announcing the FJM Foundation today. “The work of our legislative sponsors to date has been superb. The broad support we have received from the journalistic community and their readers, viewers and listeners from across the country is very inspiring. Journalism is a cornerstone of our democracy. It is important to honor those who have died in pursuit of the truth.”

Also present for today’s event were Senators Cardin and Portman; Congressman Cole; Donald Graham, former publisher of The Washington Post; and Rick Hutzell, Editor, Capital Gazette Communications.

The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act follows the legal framework established by Commemorative Works Act (CWA) of 1986 for the placement of commemorative works on federal land in the District of Columbia. It prohibits the use of federal funds and requires the Foundation to follow a process to ensure that the memorial is appropriately designed, constructed and located, and that sufficient funds are provided to the National Park Service (NPS) to maintain the memorial.

The legislation authorizes the newly established Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJM Foundation) to raise funds and work with appropriate entities to site and build a memorial to pay tribute to the journalists who have died while performing their jobs.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute (NPCJI), which is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club, will host the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. The Foundation will build support and plan for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and preservation of the memorial. Initial funding will be provided by the Annenberg Foundation and the Michael and Jacky Ferro Foundation. Barbara Cochran, who has a storied career in journalism and is a professor and director of the Washington program of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the president of the NPCJI, will serve as President of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. Dreier will serve as Chairman of the Foundation’s board.

ABOUT THE FALLEN JOURNALISTS MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJM Foundation) will work to enact legislation, raise funds and build a Fallen Journalists Memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C. that will pay tribute to journalists who have died while performing their jobs. The FJM Foundation will operate under the auspices of the National Press Club Journalism Institute (NPCJI), which is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club.