The Sunday News

Comics Gallery at the Newseum

A funny little hallway at The Newseum

On a typical Sunday morning, you’ll find me watching the Sunday Morning Show, with The Washington Post at my side, and the laptop open in front of me with tabs for Facebook and Twitter.  I get my news from multiple sources.  However, the two specific to Sunday: the TV news magazine and the ad-filled Sunday edition of the paper have been my favorite for some time now.  I recently expanded my newspaper subscription to all seven days of the week, and I’m still muddling through that stage where I forget to pick it up in the morning.  As a result, I tend to read select print stories at the same time that I’m catching up on the day through the nightly news broadcast.  Stories on the TV suck me in but provide a few fleeting moments of entertainment or information.  Printed stories pull me in and must be worthy of being read.   On Sundays, they still come second to browsing through the ads and the coupons.  Fortunately, earlier in the week, I discovered a coupon for half off admission to the Newseum this weekend.  With that great offer, we decided to expand our news options today.

The Newseum displays newspapers from all 50 states and several foreign countries, each printed to scale.  We stopped briefly to catch the headlines in neighboring Virginia as well as South Carolina, the two states we have called home, before stepping into the air conditioned, six-story museum.  The building design resembles and Ikea, stark white, industrial with homey accents, and several different paths and staircases between exhibits.  A large screen and scrolling news stories greet visitors inside, and friendly staff directed us to begin downstairs at the orientation theaters.  We preferred to browse everything at our own pace and admittedly did not sit through the eight and a half minute film.  The Berlin Wall exhibit caught our eye first, followed by a less serious hallway filled with the timeline of comics.  Considering that the comics are one of the first sections shared from our newspaper, this early detour was appropriate for us. We spent our first hour examining sports photos and Pulitzer Prize photos, along with a chronology of presidential pups that lined the otherwise open walkway between the gallery sides.  The museum organizes these galleries by event, such as the FBI exhibit, or by time, such as the gallery of front pages through history or the evolution of Internet, TV and radio.  Interestingly enough, the social media information hides in an almost static corner labeled digital news.  HP sponsors a new media gallery elsewhere in the building, but our path did not take us there.

Instead, we took time to watch the lighter side of the news, a collected clipshow from SNL, Jay Lennon and other night-time talk shows that caters to our demographic.  This theater-showing exemplified the kind of TV we would be watching at home, if it hadn’t been the middle of the day on a Sunday.  We settled into Tim Russert’s office from Meet the Press, admiring the way that he worked and raised his family.  We trekked to the top level 6 to an exhibit entitled Every Four Years, which shows the connect between media and politics.  A thick-painted line on the floor shows the steps to office, but the exhibit itself demonstrates the blurred lines between the two.  The many factors of influences included the farce and fashion, from the suits that SNL cast members wore when impersonating the candidates to the suit that Katie Couric wore when interviewing the vice presidential nominee.

The sixth floor also features a great veranda, with views of the city and views of international newspapers.  It’s worth the steep price of admission,  although not as much when compared to the free Smithsonian museums that are almost visible from that height. We caught the news as it roared by on the street below.  The city hosted Rolling Thunder, an annual motorcycle rally today, and that’s the kind of action that is missing in the Newseum.  The exhibits show the news through history, but only quietly leads into the current-day technology, such as blogs and new media that will completely change the way we produce and consume news. Next week, you’ll find me back in the comfort of my own home, with the media that I adore, a little wiser about how we reached this point but still wondering what’s the story and how will it be told.

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