The loss is significant and one I doubt will be replaced anytime soon.
Since the Newseum opened on 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008, I have visited several times. It is a grand museum celebrating journalism and a free press. Its grand building is adorned on the front with every single word of the First Amendment.
When I heard that the Newseum was going to close on Dec. 31, I knew I had to see it one more time. The $25 per person cost in a city with multiple free world-class museums was too much to sustain in a building of its size and scope.
I’ve devoted Thursday morning’s commentary to my final visit to the Newseum, the state of journalism and why the Newseum was not saved.
To me, it is the greater question. Why didn’t the federal government step in to save this museum and its six floors of history for future generation. Why didn’t it consider its celebration of a free press something all citizens need to embrace?
I ended up spending six hours in the Newseum on Sunday.
I stayed until it closed.
And last night, they closed for the final time.
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Its artifacts will go into storage and there are no plans to open another smaller museum.
That makes me sad.
Consider these words:
“There is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success in what the Founding Fathers called our `noble experiment’ in self-government.”
- Ronald Reagan.
“We pay tribute to the reporter who is willing to stand when others will run, who will press on with questions when others have been cowed into silence.”
- Alejandro Junco, CEO of Mexico’s GrupoReforma newspaper group.
“News is what somebody, somewhere wants to suppress.”
- Lord Northcliffe, British newspaper publisher
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog “The Front Page” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.