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DC’s new “Newsoleum” is the perfect monument for a dying profession 4/11/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Newseum.

Perfect irony has been achieved with the opening today of one of the most expensive museums ever built — the $450 million, 250,000 square foot, 7-story Newseum news museum in Washington, DC. More aptly named the “Newsoleum,” this titanic building dedicated to the greater glory of mainstream media was built over the last four years — just as the industry hit a New Media iceberg and threatened to take down with it the livelihoods of tens of thousands of souls.

The ability of the builders to capture the state of the industry in steel-and-glass is truly remarkable. It is overbuilt, mirroring an industry that is overstaffed. With a $20 entrance fee, it is expensive for visitors, who can choose free alternatives instead (surrounding museums). That’s the same situation today’s newspapers find themselves in, trying to survive in a world of free online news. Its success is premised on the false belief that the public is as impressed by mainstream media as mainstream journalists are, reflecting a similar disconnect between news outlets and their news consumers. It is often said that “pride comes before the fall.” Perhaps that should be etched into the side of the building as a fitting epitaph to a dying industry.


1. Laurence Hallas - 4/12/08

I visited the Newseum in its more humble abode across the Potomac in Rossyln, VA. It was quite fun and allowed for viewing of some of our history’s moments in time. The operative word here is ‘humble’! Tastefully done and with an entrance fee that couldn’t have been more than 5 bucks (while I don’t remember exactly, I WOULD have remembered $20!!). Why they moved I haven’t a clue, but Boriss’ suggested epitaph makes sense to me!!

2. Douglas Galbi - 4/14/08

The Newseum greatly underplays the role of crime and punishment in the rise of mass media. That’s a major misrepresentation.

3. The Bad News about the Newseum « Astrology Mundo - 4/15/08

[…] By the way, I’m not the only newsie who has come to this conclusion. Check at this post at “The Future of News”: http://thefutureofnews.com/2008/04/11/dcs-new-newsoleum-is-the-perfect-monument-to-a-dying-professio… […]

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