Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin introduced a resolution Wednesday to locate the National Memorial to Fallen Journalists at a specific site in Washington, D.C.
The memorial would be located between the Voice of America building and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, according to the joint resolution Cardin introduced with Republican Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio.
“The National Memorial to Fallen Journalists will honor the lives of those who died reporting the news and supporting the media on behalf of the American people,” Cardin said in a statement. “Transparency and unbiased journalism are essential in a democracy and this new memorial will be a steadfast symbol of the sacrifice of those who take on this responsibility. The men and women who personify the First Amendment rights granted to every citizen have made our nation stronger.”
The bill’s introduction comes a week after Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, a veteran investigative journalist known for uncovering misconduct and wrongdoing by politicians, casino magnates and mobsters, was killed at his home. Investigators have arrested a suspect, an elected official whom German was reporting on.
The memorial project was authorized by Congress in 2020. It will be funded by donors of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. The memorial will be constructed and maintained by the National Park Service or General Services Administration, according to Cardin’s office.
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While designs have not been finalized yet, the foundation is working with architecture critic Paul Goldberger to create a process for designing the memorial and selecting an architect, according to its website. It’s aiming to have a design ready by the end of the year. The foundation estimates the project may cost up to $50 million.
The effort to create the memorial was started by former California representative and Tribune Publishing Company Chairman David Dreier to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting inside the newsroom at The Capital, which is part of Baltimore Sun Media and Tribune Publishing.
On June 28, 2018, five people — Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters — were killed by a man who entered the newsroom with a shotgun. The massacre was the deadliest assault against journalists in United States history.
Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, an original co-sponsor of the bill, said the memorial would honor reporters, photographers and other news industry workers who died doing their jobs overseas, across the country and in Maryland.
“This memorial will honor the lives of fallen journalists around the world and serve as a tribute to those who were killed here in Maryland at the Capital Gazette shooting — Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters,” he said in a statement.
In a statement, Portman said he was pleased to join Cardin in introducing the bill.
“This memorial will serve as a fitting tribute to the men and women in journalism who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of the First Amendment,” Portman said.