Wake-Up Call: a visit to the dinosaur museum

On Sunday, I stopped by the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the new, 250,000 square foot facility on Pennyslvania Avenue devoted to the history of news. The views from this building are stunning, as are many of the exhibits. But in many ways, I might as well have been at a natural history museum, looking at dinosaur bones, so soon-to-be extinct are many of these species of newspapers.

Particularly poignant were the references to the Rocky Mountain News, whose fate is still uncertain -- but definitely doesn't look bright. In one display, E. W. Scripps, the "people's champion," is credited with inventing newspaper chains, starting in the 1880s when he bought up several dailies. The company through grew out of those early efforts, which he named after himself, is the one that put the Rocky on the block in early December.

The Rocky itself gets great play in an exhibit devoted to Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs. The paper won the honor for its Columbine coverage, and under one shot are listed the names of the twenty photographers and editors who contributed to that effort. Almost ten years later, many of them have left the paper. A few months from now, they could all be gone, like the Rocky itself.

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