Journalism is often a thankless, overlooked, and underpaid profession. Thomas Jefferson loved the press, but who else?
A lot of people view journalists as icky, side dwellers or sycophants feeding off the tragedy and misery around them. “A shooting on the West Side? I’m on it!” “A plane crash in the Midwest? Let’s do it!”
You can blame 5 o’clock TV news (and I do) but regardless, aside from the patriotic claim we hold to in having a free press in this society (especially during war), people often look at journalists like they do lawyers—with skepticism, even though journalists average about half their salary.
So how great is it that journalism got its own museum?
Located across the street from the Smithsonian museums, the “Newseum” is just a stones-throw from the Capital building in Washington D.C. The massive, six-level museum is entirely dedicated to the study and celebration of journalism.
The museum posts the front page stories of newspapers around the world on the outside windows. And on the wall, a large concrete excerpt from the First Amendment hangs, facing the Capital.
Inside, visitors will see a large HD TV hanging from the rafters which plays re-runs of historical TV news.
Admission is $20. If you have all day then it’s worth the price, if not, the Smithsonian museums are free and just down the street.
But should you fork up the cash, a great museum awaits.
True to the digital evolution of journalism, the Newseum is also packed full of multimedia exhibits, such as on-demand videos, Q&A’s with virtual instructors, even video games, like the one below (pull a reporter to your corner, correctly answer the pop-up questions and build the biggest newsroom).
Also, at the Newseum, you can visit a World Trade Center exhibit. The wall beside a piece of the tower is plastered with the front pages of newspapers around the world, declaring the attack. Circling the artifact is a minute-to-minute breakdown of how the news that day unfolded.
Around the corner, read about the tragic assignation of Don Bolles, an investigative reporter for the “Arizona Republic” who was killed by a car bomb planted by the mafia. (That’s his car pictured).
There’s also the “News History Timeline” exhibit, teaching visitors about the evolution of journalism, from 1455 onward.
And there’s a lot more. Next time you’re in Washington D.C., bring $20 for the door. The Newseum is great for both history buffs and journalists alike.