Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thanh Niew newspaper staff visit Newseum in Washington D.C.


Thanh Nien newspaper staff visit the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and find out why news gatherers still matter.
As America’s newspaper industry struggles to keep readers, the opening last week of a US$450 million news museum in Washington, D.C., perhaps seemed a strange choice.
But the necessity of presenting the history of journalism in one of the world’s largest news hubs is assuring its popularity.
Recently, Thanh Nien newspaper staff visited the Newseum and were struck by its professionalism, scale and dedication to reporters.
Unlike the typical museum, visitors to this “newsroom” do not need to “walk slowly” or “lower their voice.”
A lively ambience welcomes visitors – with images of historic events constantly being broadcast on a giant US$3 million screen.
The images are occasionally interrupted to show major breaking news.
The museum’s 6,000 artifacts are presented by theme – for instance news coverage of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, the September 11 attacks and the Vietnam War are presented individually.
Separate exhibition sections honor Pulitzer-Prize winners, present displays on the development of radio, broadcast news and the Internet, recall the history of American media and reconfirm why the First Amendment – the cornerstone of free media in the United States – still matters.
On display is also the bullet-riddled vehicle used by a reporter in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), a backpack and camera left behind by a reporter killed in the September 11 attacks and a memorial section honoring 1,800 journalists who died while carrying out their duties.
The Newseum also struck Thanh Nien staff for its immensity.
The 250,000-square-foot museum of news has seven levels and inside contains 15 theatres including one with 4D capability.
On a typical tour, visitors may see short documentaries about two major figures in the American media: Edward R.
Murrow, a radio reporter who became prominent during World War II and considered a pioneer in television broadcasting; and Nellie Bly, the first American female journalist.
The documentaries show images of Murrow conducting radio segments on a roof overlooking a city burning during World War II and of Nellie Bly going undercover in a mental hospital during the 19th century to write about patients being maltreated.
There is also a game room, which attracts hundreds of children, that aims to raise the profile of journalism among young aspiring reporters.
During the Newseum’s first year of operation, the Washington Post Company has agreed to cover the admittance cost for schoolchildren who live in their circulation area.
From these games, visitors gain an understanding about what it is like to work in the media industry.
They can enjoy pretending to report from the White House or take quizzes to test their news knowledge.
Although public trust in the media can sometimes wane, this museum reminds people why certain journalists should be honored.
As emblazoned on a wall in giant quotation marks, journalists, like police and firefighters, are “people who run toward disaster.”
Left: The Newseum’s section presents the American media coverage of the conflict in Vietnam
Right: Thanh Nien reporter stands in front of the Newseum, which was open last week in Washington, D.C.
The museum’s 6,000 artifacts are presented by theme – for instance news coverage of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, the September 11 attacks and the Vietnam War are on display
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