Film celebrating Stars and Stripes military newspaper premieres in DC
© Steven Barber

Washington notables gathered Monday night at the Newseum for the debut of a new documentary celebrating the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

The film, "World's Most Dangerous Paper Route," shares the paper's history and the many challenges its staff face reporting from war zones and bringing news to the nation's service members.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress digs in for prolonged Saudi battle Focus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince GOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill MORE (R-S.C.) spoke to the packed audience, praising the paper's journalists. Graham said freedom of the press is an important right, but comes with great responsibility.

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“Freedom of the press is fundamental to who we are, but there’s got to be some responsibility. Freedom without responsibility is chaos,” Graham said.

Graham said the documentary highlights how Stars and Stripes covers stories other places couldn't. The documentary is narrated by Steve Kroft of CBS News's "60 Minutes," who was once a correspondent for the paper.

The documentary shares Kroft's own story, as well as those of other journalists who reported on the nation's wars for the paper. It also shares how the paper is delivered to troops in far-flung locations around the globe.

In a panel discussion after the film, moderated by journalist Tom Philpott, who has been covering the military for over 40 years, Kroft was joined by former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petraeus.

The two shared their personal experiences with the paper.

Kroft served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes and credited it with boosting his career as he met journalists from around the globe.

“That would be the thing that I really wanted to do, and I felt it was something that would show up on my resume and that I would be proud to have on my resume,” Kroft said.

Petraeus said the Stars and Stripes was like a hometown newspaper when he was enlisted. Troops did not always have access to internet, television or newspapers, and the paper was essential to helping them feel connected.

And he credited the quality of its reporting to its brave embeds who were alongside troops.

“Stars and Stripes was always a source of enormous interest in news and, again, about our troops in particular,” Petraeus said.