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GOLIS: Journalism in a time of change

  • Manuel Amava of Arlington, Va., prepares an exhibit piece at the Newseum Friday, April 4, 1997, in Arlington, Va. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)


For someone who has spent his life in newspapering, the Newseum is a fine place to while away a couple of hours. But it's impossible to be here and not to think about how much has changed for media companies.

This is Washington's celebration of journalism from a simpler time — before technology and an economic recession changed the world.

The Newseum is a family sort of place with lots of visual and interactive displays. Aiming to appeal to a wide audience, it manages to be informative without being controversial.

With galleries named for corporate sponsors — NBC and Comcast, the New York Times, Bloomberg, News Corp. and more — the Newseum also manages to be too commercial for its own good, but this seems to be the price of being in the museum business these days.

The Newseum means to offer something for everyone, and it succeeds most of the time.

Here, you can see the evocative: a chunk of the Berlin Wall, the 9/11 gallery, a profile of Edward R. Murrow.

And you can see the quirky: the Unabomber's cabin, the door from the Watergate burglary, photos of presidents with their dogs.

At the Newseum, there are interactive newsrooms and TV stations where students can simulate the daily work of reporters. There's a television studio, movie theaters and conference spaces.

There's memorabilia from recent presidential campaigns, Pulitzer Prize-winning photos, and the famous same-day posting of front pages from newspapers all the over the world. (At newseum.org, you can see more than 800 front pages from 84 countries.)

Surveying one day's pages, it was striking how often U.S. newspapers featured local and regional stories. With dozens of sources providing world and national news, local papers are discovering that hometown news is their bread and butter.

Nearby, the sixth-floor terrace offers a spectacular view down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.

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