Recently, Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst stepped down and revealed that the long-time resident of Washington, D.C. may be closing its doors, selling the business altogether or moving to a new location.
The Newseum is a monument in and of itself that chronicles the history of news and journalism, proclaiming its contents even on the outside of the building where the first amendment is carved into a marble slab: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
That powerful phrase has greeted students from Virginia Wesleyan since 2013, when Professor Lisa Payne began taking her journalism class to visit the news monument.
“It breaks my heart to think of this wonderful opportunity for students vanishing. Student come back so inspired,” she said. “It’s the kind of place where you can spend an entire day there and only scratch the surface. We see something special every time we visit. It will be missed.”
Cynthia Griffin, a junior who went on one of Payne’s trips to D.C. her sophomore year, thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Newseum and would return.
“As a journalism student, it’s disheartening to me because I never knew of a museum that was specifically for journalism,” she said. “The fact that it’s closing makes me sad to think that a piece of journalism history isn’t going to here anymore.”
Wesleyan students may be among the last visitors to read that inscription and visit the gallery of Pulitzer-prize photographs.
Julie Ainsley, a senior Communication major, laments the possible loss. “It’s a measure of where we’ve been and where we’re going. I think it sheds light on a profession that doesn’t get the best rep, especially in today’s society,” she said. “I’ve never been, but it’s always been a dream of mine to go.”