Offsetting a $10 million donation from the Ochs-Sulzburger family, The New York Times offers their readers a preview of their latest investment--the grand re-opening of the Newseum, Washington's shrine to all things press-related, which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in October of this year. The Newseum's first incarnation set the foundation for the institution's concept: artful renderings of current events, scads of screens showing documentary footage and old broadcasts, exhibits that range from the high-toned to the trivial, and more high-tech wizardry than you could wave an AP style guide at. But, tucked away in the workaday wilds of Arlington's Rosslyn district, the museum soon grew to the point of burst seams.
But after five years of closure, the new Newseum promises a bold reimagining of its original concept. Beginning with a prominent new edifice on the Inauguration route, the architecture is inspired, the collection is expanded, and officials promise that the technology on hand--stunningly deployed in its former location--has only been amped up.
But a key feature of the Newseum is its interactivity. Also, a new restaurant from Wolfgang Puck that will occupy three of the museum's seven floors. But, seriously--back to the interactive part. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in activities that help them understand what it's like to work in the news industry: guests can broadcast their own news, suffuse themselves with gravitas in photos taken against traditional reporter backdrops, and even explore weighty press issues firsthand:
One of the galleries will be devoted 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.)
The potential for this sort of learning is vast, and we at Eat The Press have our own suggestions:
"The First Quote"
You are a reporter on deadline, expecting any number of calls from sources as news breaks. But, at the same time, today was Kathy's birthday party, and everyone's talking about Delores Sanderson's delicious blondies. There are leftovers, but they're all the way downstairs in the third-floor breakroom. Do you make a break for it, knowing you may miss a call? Do you stay and feel like a complete sucker? Hopefully, Karl Rove is lurking by the water fountain, like always. You can get some copy from him. He's probably already proofed it.
"America's Next Top Bob Novak"
Put your inner drama queen and your innate sense of entitlement to the test as you choreograph a historic "storm-off" in the middle of the broadcast.
"White House Correspondents Dinner"
You're at the WHCD. The canapes are tasteless, the onstage act is bombing, and all around you, your colleagues are fawning all over the people with whom they are supposed to have an adversarial relationship. Precisely how many vodka tonics does it take to get your soul to stop yelling at you? (Five, according to a Newseum panel of journalism experts.)
"Is Bob Schieffer Talking Smack About You?"
Is Bob Schieffer talking smack about you? Sheesh. After that stunt you pulled at the WHCD, probably.
A Museum for Artifacts of the News Media's Hunters and Gatherers [New York Times]