As goes the news industry, so goes Newseum, which came under fire from journalists for selling MAGA hats.
The Newseum is a non-profit museum in Washington, DC devoted to journalism. They just sold their massive building to Johns Hopkins University and will now look for a new location. It will remain open at its current address through the end of this year.
Ted Johnson reports at Variety:
Newseum to Close D.C. Location After Sale to Johns Hopkins University
The Newseum, a museum dedicated to journalism and the First Amendment, and located in a prime piece of real estate along Pennsylvania Avenue, will close at the end of 2019.
The Freedom Forum, the creator and primary funder of the museum, announced the closure as part of the building’s sale to Johns Hopkins University, which will acquire the property for $372.5 million. The forum cited unsustainable operating costs.
Jan Neuharth, the chairwoman and CEO of the Freedom Forum, said they will “explore all options to find a new home in the Washington, D.C. area.”
The museum — an elaborate, glassy, and modernist facility — opened in 2008, and has drawn visitors with a mix of exhibits, such as a piece of the Berlin Wall, remnants of the antenna atop the World Trade Center, a journalist’s memorial, and other displays devoted to reporting and news gathering. It had become a popular locale for film screenings and premieres, such as a red carpet gala last year for the movie “The Post.”
This passage from a report by Colin Dwyer at NPR is rather enlightening:
Founded just across the Potomac in Northern Virginia in the late 1990s, the museum moved into its glamorous glass-and-steel home with much fanfare in spring 2008. But even back then, as NPR’s Elizabeth Blair noted at the time, there were some doubts about the fiscal wisdom of a project with a price tag of roughly $450 million.
Those concerns only grew in recent years, as its relatively high entry fee — about $25 per adult, surrounded by the free Smithsonian museums — and its reportedly consistent deficits portended ill for the Newseum’s financial future.
Over the last two weeks as the Covington affair has dragged on, we have learned how most people in American media really feel about ‘Make America Great Again’ hats. In hindsight, we probably should have known that already.
Back in August of this year, some journalists became incensed when they learned that the Newseum was selling MAGA hats and ‘fake news’ t-shirts.
Amy Lieu reported at FOX News:
MAGA hats, ‘Fake News’ shirts are hot sellers at Newseum, irritating reporters
The Newseum in Washington, D.C., is an interactive museum that celebrates the role and history of the media in America.
So, what are among the top-selling items in the museum’s gift shop and through its online store? Red caps that say “Make America Great Again,” and T-shirts that say “You Are Very Fake News.”
But the popularity of items associated with President Trump has been irritating many members of the media, Poynter.org, the website for a media think tank, reported…
As for sales of merchandise at the museum, Sonya Gavankar, a Newseum spokeswoman, told Poynter that “the MAGA hat and the FBI hat are two of our best-selling items.”
“As a nonpartisan organization, people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum,” she said, “and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press but also of free speech.”
But a member of the White House press corps, on condition of anonymity, objected to the Newseum selling political merchandise, adding that “fake news” apparel was an “insult to journalists,” Poynter reported.
Maybe if the Newseum had sold more MAGA hats and ‘fake news’ t-shirts, they wouldn’t have needed to sell their building. It’s something of a metaphor for the decline of the news industry.
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