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Friday, 11 April 2008


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We are living in an era of unprecedented proliferation of new museums and museum expansions. It's likely that we're at the end of this era, given the current powerful expulsion of gas from the economy.

This "newseum", at least in my opinion, represents the silly, self-important egotism segment of this phenomenon. Our kids and young adults, in the main, cannot distinguish between the (American) Civil War and the Revolutionary War but they'll line with fist-fulls of cash to see the history of Katie Couric's hairstyles?

Well, to each its own. But if this is your cup of tea be sure to also take in the International Shoe Lace and Insole History Museum. It's a $300 million masterpiece by a prominent Italian architect. It's just down the street.

Hi Mike,

I was able to make it to the grand opening of the Newseum today. The place is quite spectacular. The most interesting part of the Newseum for me was the Pulitzer Prize Winning Photography exhibit. Spectacular and unforgettable images from the last 66 years. There is a HD video playing of some of the photographers and how they got those prize-winning photos. Highly recommended.


Ken, EASY, man!! Don't you think you should at least set foot in the place before unleashing such vitriol? Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself.

Mike J.

Mike; I actually do have a bit more depth and grounding about this project, but that's a separate subject.

Here are two pieces in today's New York Times on the Washington "newseum".

First, an architecture review: http://tinyurl.com/52kbyp
Next, a general review of the museum: http://tinyurl.com/3j9u5u

Enjoy the Newseum, it might be the last place where you'll notice proper journalism. I was reading something about somebody from the States the other day and it said the person majored in journalism with the stress on advertising. Eurgh.

I agree with Ken. A half-billion dollars? For what? You get to see the Watergate door? It's a flippin' *door.* You can see one just like it at the Holiday Inn, for free. LL Cool J explains the First Amendment? If they're looking for a black guy to front for them (there are not very many in actual newsrooms) why didn't they get Justice Thomas to do it? He's had a lot of experience with the media. Is this the same Katie Couric who, according to the papers earlier this week, CBS is trying to find a way to ditch, because of low ratings? There's a piece of history for you. The first female anchor to be thrown off the ship because nobody was watching. Ah...Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky...really cranky.


Ken ! It's me again ! Remember last time we corresponded ? I'm back with the same request...

Express your view, by all means, but don't just express it, back it up.

What's not to like about the Newseum ? It's not the best, sure, but the best is the enemy of the good, remember, and I'd have thought that anything that inspired a bit of curiousity about the news-reporting process and reminded us the horrifying, choking fact that journalism is part of the feedback loop that forms democracy - it's gotta be helpful, right ?

I'm writing from the UK, where we lose out in the democracy league tables because one individual owns 40% of our media, and the BBC make up a lot of the rest of it. And I'm looking across trying to puzzle you lot out as usual, now that Alistair Cooke's dead and buried. When I went to the Newseum (1999) it was cheesy and made me wince, but I figured that was because us Brits don't do idealism in public. But I respected what the Newseum seemed to me to be trying to say. Where's the bad ?

Yours truly, intrigued again,


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