The Newseum, a gallery dedicated to the profession of journalism, is almost ready for visitors! Soon-to-be-former Times media reporter Kit Seelye takes a look at the monument to press freedom, decidedly one of the most expensive museums under construction.
What Kit tells us:
The building's transparent exterior is meant to convey the idea of a free press and an open society. A mammoth rectangle frames the facade, suggesting a television or computer screen that provides what the museum calls a "window on the world." Visitors enter through a Great Hall of News, where they can see breaking stories on a giant digital "zipper" before setting out on a 1.5-mile path of displays and interactive kiosks. The building, which has seven floors, also contains 135 upscale apartments, Newseum shops and Wolfgang Puck's three-story restaurant, the Source.
But there's more! As part of its mission to enshrine the glamour and dangers of the newsgathering life, the Newseum will display a treasure trove of journalism-related objects. Normally, we'd come up with a "humorous" list of these "artifacts" which would almost surely include Steve Dunleavy's liver, but the actual list itself is far better than any joke list. According to the article, it includes:
- Time magazine's armored truck from the Balkans
- The laptop used by Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in Pakistan in 2002
- The vest that Bob Woodruff of ABC was wearing last year when he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq
- The cellphone that a Virginia Tech student used last month to capture a video of the campus massacre
- A pencil used by Mark H. Kellogg, a reporter killed at Little Bighorn with Custer in 1876
- The turquoise slippers worn by Ana Marie Cox when she wrote as Wonkette, the sassy Washington blogger
- There's also a display containing disgraced former Times reporter Jayson Blair's articles and a gallery:
[D]evoted to journalistic ethics. It allows visitors to race one another to answer some basic yes-or-no questions on deadline. You are reporting on shoplifting and learn that your neighbor has been arrested, a potential conflict; should you tell your editor? (Yes, according to a Newseum panel of journalism experts.)
- We can hardly contain ourselves. You know, we don't get enough of the press celebrating itself with Pulitzers and ASMEs and other fake awards. We need the grandeur of a seven-story complex that lauds the dedication of our ink-stained (or pajama-bottomed) information gatherers. When this sucker opens, we're going to be first in line to see the exhibition containing R.W. Apple Jr.'s legendary expense reports.
- A Museum for Artifacts of the News Media's Hunters and Gatherers [NYT]