Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In Which I Do Not Write a Hed to Avoid a News Pun

I went to the newly reopened Newseum--which The Washington Post called "an overpriced monument to journalistic self-glorification"--on Sunday. (Some have suggested it is an overpriced tombstone for journalism.)
At $450 million, "overpriced" is probably an understatement, though the group I went with (a bunch of journalism dorks like myself) was thoroughly impressed. (Souvenir favorites of the group were items with the phrase, "Not tonight dear ... I'm on deadline.")
Though, I would note that while there were computer games that enabled visitors to try their hand at being a reporter and a photographer (which my cohorts were unsurprisingly very good at), there was no corresponding game for copy editors. 
The only nod to copy, we discovered, and my favorite part of the museum (OK, not really, but...) was in the bathroom. There, on the walls were tiles with corrections and headline gaffes ("University Revokes Doctorate in Plagiarism" "Driveway Floods After Man Bursts").
When I worked at my school newspaper, I hung the corrections we published on a narrow strip of wall in the newsroom. It was my wall of shame. The Newseum bathrooms, though, had me wondering if I would have been better served by putting those corrections in the bathroom.
I think that Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post is right, though, that the museum "is actually a history museum disguised as a media retrospective." But, then again, if you believe Phil Graham (former publisher of that newspaper), "news is the first rough draft of history."


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