Washington's Newseum Nears Final Deadline Amid Crisis in US Journalism
David Smith 戴维·史密斯
Joke's on you， journalists. The only thing that ends up in museums is when there's no use for them any more. The air and space museum is a perfect example. Once we landed on the moon， the space race was over. We may as well have Scotchgarded Neil Armstrong and hung him from the ceiling. And so， the construction of this museum fittingly marks the end of the news.”
These were the words of comedian Stephen Colbert in a video message recorded for the grand opening of the Newseum in Washington in 2008. The museum was hailed as a $450m cathedral of journalism， boasting 15 galleries and 15 theatres over seven floors at one of the world's most exclusive addresses between the White House and US Capitol.
But Colbert's jokey monologue was prophetic. The debt-ridden Newseum is nearing its final deadline. At the end of this month it will shut its doors for the last time， becoming a glass and steel white elephant – and an almost-too-obvious metaphor for the crisis facing America's newspaper industry.
The museum opened with fanfare on Pennsylvania Avenue 11 years ago after moving from Arlington， Virginia. It was both a treasure trove and something of a grab bag. Star exhibits include myriad historic newspapers， a section of undersea telegraph cable from the 1860s， microphones used by former president Franklin Roosevelt for his “fireside chats”，a steel door from the Watergate break-in， broadcaster Tim Russert's 2000 presidential election whiteboard （“Florida！ Florida！ Florida！”）， a section of the 360ft antenna mast from the World Trade Center destroyed on 11 September 2001， Pulitzer prize-winning photography and a memorial to 2，344 journalists who died reporting the news.