Reporting the Titanic Disaster


New Exhibit On display April 13 to 20  – Special program April 15

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, the Newseum will host a special free exhibit displaying newspaper front pages that reveal how the tragedy was reported when the ship struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, and sank, killing 1,496 people. The exhibit will appear in the front pages cases outside the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., from April 13 to April 20, 2012.

“Reporting the Titanic Disaster” shows how news reporters who were scrambling to get the facts were thwarted by conflicting details from radio transmissions. Radio in the early 20th century was used primarily as a means of ship-to-shore communications, but the sinking of the Titanic marked the first use of wireless radio to cover a major breaking news event.

The Newseum will display images of 28 historic newspaper front pages reporting the disaster, a telegram warning about icebergs and the Titanic’s desperate SOS. A slideshow featuring Titanic front pages also is featured online at

Inside the Newseum, visitors can see the original New York Herald front page from April 16, 1912, reporting the news that the Titanic had sunk, with mostly women and children saved.

As part of the 100th anniversary commemoration, the Newseum will host a special “Inside Media” program on Sunday, April 15. The program features scientists who have played key roles in the study and preservation of the Titanic. They include James Delgado, the first archaeologist to dive to the ship; Craig McLean, who led a mission in 2003 to study the wreck site; and Ole Varmer, an attorney who has overseen the legal aspects of the salvaged Titanic artifacts. The program is at 2:30 p.m. in the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio.

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