【媒库文选】美新闻业危机 新闻博物馆大限将至

2020-01-15 14:47   参考消息网  

Washington's Newseum Nears Final Deadline Amid Crisis in US Journalism

美新闻业危机 新闻博物馆大限将至

David Smith 戴维·史密斯

Joke's on you, journalists. The only thing that ends up in museums is when there's no use for them any more. The air and space museum is a perfect example. Once we landed on the moon, the space race was over. We may as well have Scotchgarded Neil Armstrong and hung him from the ceiling. And so, the construction of this museum fittingly marks the end of the news.”

These were the words of comedian Stephen Colbert in a video message recorded for the grand opening of the Newseum in Washington in 2008. The museum was hailed as a $450m cathedral of journalism, boasting 15 galleries and 15 theatres over seven floors at one of the world's most exclusive addresses between the White House and US Capitol.

But Colbert's jokey monologue was prophetic. The debt-ridden Newseum is nearing its final deadline. At the end of this month it will shut its doors for the last time, becoming a glass and steel white elephant – and an almost-too-obvious metaphor for the crisis facing America's newspaper industry.

The museum opened with fanfare on Pennsylvania Avenue 11 years ago after moving from Arlington, Virginia. It was both a treasure trove and something of a grab bag. Star exhibits include myriad historic newspapers, a section of undersea telegraph cable from the 1860s, microphones used by former president Franklin Roosevelt for his “fireside chats”,a steel door from the Watergate break-in, broadcaster Tim Russert's 2000 presidential election whiteboard (“Florida! Florida! Florida!”), a section of the 360ft antenna mast from the World Trade Center destroyed on 11 September 2001, Pulitzer prize-winning photography and a memorial to 2,344 journalists who died reporting the news.

There were also temporary exhibitions, lectures,thousands of classes and programmes, a display of today's front pages (which will survive posthumously in digital form) and some charming touches including newspaper misprints embedded in tiles in the public toilets.

It chalked up 10 million visitors and, for some journalists, was a place of pilgrimage and inspiration.

But for others, the Newseum was a vanity project that rambled beyond its brief. Artifacts included 12ft-high concrete sections of the Berlin Wall and an exhibit about US presidents' pet dogs.

And financial headaches were compounded by a hefty admission fee. Some may have balked at paying $24.95 plus tax when they could cross the street to the National Archives, housing the US constitution and declaration of independence, or the National Gallery of Art, with the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in North America, and visit free of charge.

Speaking at the Newseum's last public event, its chairman, Peter Prichard, admitted he and other founders had overreached. “We thought big,” he told the audience. “We wanted to make an impact and so this was a very ambitious, visionary project.”

There were other trends at work. Prichard said:“The development of this museum coincided with the digital hurricane that swept over old school traditional media. Newspapers large and small were decimated, fairness and objectivity in news reporting deteriorated or in some cases disappeared, and some politicians found that blaming journalists was an attractive political vein to mine. So the traditional media, a natural base of support for the Newseum, was left economically weakened and held in low regard by the public.”

The Newseum still hopes to find a new, downsized home in the Washington area. Nossel, who has visited often, added: “It just feels like an emblem of these troubled times when truth is kind of hanging in the balance we're actually more dependent on credible news than ever before.”

“玩笑开到自己身上了吧,众位记者。东西没用了才会进博物馆。航空航天博物馆就是一个绝好的例子。我们登陆月球的那一天也就是太空竞赛结束的那一天。我们莫若把尼尔·阿姆斯特朗经过防污处理后悬挂在天花板上。因此,这座博物馆的建成正好标志着新闻的终结。”

这些是喜剧演员斯蒂芬·科尔伯特2008年为华盛顿新闻博物馆盛大落成仪式录制的视频致辞中的话。这座博物馆被誉为新闻的大教堂,耗资4.5亿美元(1美元约合6.88元人民币——本网注),七层楼高的博物馆有15个展厅和15个剧场,位于白宫和国会大厦之间,拥有世界上最得天独厚的一个地址。

但是,科尔伯特这段滑稽独白终究一语成谶。负债累累的新闻博物馆已大限将至。本月底,它将最后一次关门停业,成为一个玻璃和钢制成的“白象”(累赘物)。而对于美国报纸业面临的危机来说,这是一个相当直白的隐喻。

11年前,从弗吉尼亚州阿灵顿搬迁到宾夕法尼亚大道上的这家博物馆在开幕时是何等高调。它既是一座宝库,又似一家杂货店。最著名的展品包括无数张有历史意义的报纸、一段19世纪60年代的海底电报电缆、前总统富兰克林·罗斯福在“炉边谈话”中使用的麦克风、水门事件中的钢门、播音员蒂姆·鲁塞特在2000年总统大选时举过的白板(“佛罗里达!佛罗里达!佛罗里达!”)、2001年9月11日被毁的世界贸易中心360英尺(1英尺约合0.3米)天线桅杆的一段,历届普利策奖获奖摄影作品以及2344名在报道新闻时死去记者的纪念碑。

博物馆还开设临展、讲座、数以千计的课程和节目、一块播放今日报纸头版的显示屏(将以数字形式幸存下来),还有一些奇趣的做法,包括把报纸的印刷错误嵌入公共厕所的瓷砖中。

它吸引了1000万人次游客,而对于一些记者来说,它是一个朝圣地和灵感的来源。

但对于另外一些人来说,新闻博物馆是一个形象工程,它超越了其本职。里面的文物包括一段12英尺高的柏林墙混凝土墙体,还有一个展示历任美国总统爱犬的展览。

高昂的入场费给财务窘境雪上加霜。一些人可能对24.95美元外加税金的费用望而却步,他们可以穿过马路去免费参观国家档案馆,那里陈列着美国宪法和独立宣言;或者国家美术馆,那里有北美仅存的一幅达芬奇的画作。

主席彼得·普里查德在新闻博物馆最后一次公开活动上发表讲话时承认,他和其他创始人太过心高气傲。他对听众们说:“我们有伟大的理想,我们想产生一些影响,所以这是一个非常雄心勃勃、富有远见的项目。”

推波助澜者还有其他趋势。普里查德说:“博物馆的发展恰逢数字化飓风席卷传统媒体。大大小小的报纸遭到灭顶之灾,新闻报道的公正性和客观性每况愈下,或者在某些情况下完全不顾,一些政客以辱骂记者为一种可资利用的诱人政治风格。因此,作为新闻博物馆天然后盾的传统媒体在经济上遭到了削弱并被公众所不齿。”

新闻博物馆仍然希望在华盛顿地区找到一个规模小一点的新归宿。经常参观这座博物馆的诺塞尔补充说:“它感觉就像是这些动荡年代的一个象征,真相扑朔迷离,我们实际上比以往任何时候都更依赖可信的新闻。”(涂颀译自英国《卫报》网站12月29日文章)

0 条评论
来说两句吧。。。
最热评论
最新评论
来说两句吧...
已有0人参与,点击查看更多精彩评论
加载中。。。。
表情