This Just In: Newseum Opens

Relocated institution's self-glorifying quality leaves reviewer cold
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2008 4:43 PM CDT
Construction continues inside the "Great Hall of News" at the Newseum, a 250,000-square-foot museum of news, in Washington on Wednesday Feb. 6, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – The Newseum reopens today in its new, $450 million home off the National Mall, and reaction to the enterprise is mixed. Granting that the interactive, artifact-laden presentation of the history of news is a good mix of education and entertainment, Edward Rothstein of the New York Times also describes it as “publicity-seeking monument to the news business.”

Though it's privately funded, Rothstein writes, the Newseum presents itself as a public institution, and in trumpeting the importance of the news to good government, “it succumbs to a familiar form of press self-regard, cloaking the press in a virtuous mantle of public service.” Slate’s Jack Shafer says the museum’s presentation of historical miscellanea ultimately tells the viewer nothing about journalism, and he warns readers to “avoid this gilded disaster.”