Newseum Theaters and Documentaries
The Newseum features more than 27 hours of media content displayed in theaters, integrated into the exhibition galleries, and presented in kiosks.
There are 44 unique video productions (combined run time: five-and-a-half hours), ranging in length from the four-minute "History of Newsreels" feature to a trio of Newseum-produced 25-minute documentaries on "The Press and the Civil Rights Movement," "Rise of TV News" and "The Press Box: The History of Sports Reporting" as well as more than 21 hours of video and audio content interpersed throughout the Newseum.
The Newseum’s 15 theaters include intimate viewing spaces integrated into major galleries — News Corporation News History; Comcast 9/11 Gallery; Bloomberg Internet, TV & Radio; and Pulitzer Prize Photographs — as well as stand-alone theaters on the Newseum’s Concourse Level (three Hearst Orientation Theaters, the Sports Theater and the Documentary Theater), the unique Robert H. and Clarice Smith Big Screen Theater with its 100-foot-long screen, and the 450-seat Annenberg Theater.
The following is a level-by-level survey of Newseum video productions and theaters.
"What’s News?" (Orientation Theaters): The new Newseum features an updated version of the award-winning production that answers the question "what’s news?" Narrated by Charles Osgood, this eight-minute video transports visitors through decades of major news events, inviting them to consider the role that news plays in their lives and how it unites people around the world and across generations in times of tragedy and triumph. "What’s News?" will be shown repeatedly throughout the day in the three 45-seat Orientation Theaters in the museum’s lower level. (Total run time: 8 minutes, 20 seconds.)
"The Press Box: The History of Sports Reporting" (Sports Theater): Some of the most compelling, dramatic news stories come from the world of sports, whether it’s Muhammad Ali knocking out George Foreman, the U.S. hockey team defeating the Russians in the 1980 Olympics, or Billie Jean King winning the "battle of the sexes" on the tennis court. "The Press Box: The History of Sports Reporting" is a fast-paced look at the past 100 years of sports journalism. Introduced and narrated by Ahmad Rashad, the 25-minute Newseum original documentary looks at how sports reporting reflects society and includes interviews with a wide range of sports reporters — including Christine Brennan, James Brown, Bob Costas and Jim McKay — and some of the most memorable moments in sports history.
Documentary Theater: The Newseum’s 110-seat Documentary Theater will showcase an ever-changing collection of contemporary and historic documentaries about great news events, the influence of the media and the role of the press in society. The Documentary Theater also can be used in conjunction with the Newseum’s Changing Exhibits gallery as a screening room, program venue or classroom space.
Also on the Concourse Level: Centrally displayed artifacts — the CONUS satellite truck and a CNN satellite phone — will have accompanying videos, and the Berlin Wall gallery features four 42" LCD screens. Three are situated in a different chronological section of the gallery and features short videos — "News in Two Berlins," "News Breaks Through the Wall," and "The Fall of the Wall," — that trace the role of media through the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. The fourth is a video feature about the installation of the Berlin Wall.
"A Glimpse of Life: The Pulitzer Photographs" (Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery): This original Newseum documentary features interviews with more than a dozen Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists revealing, in their own words, the stories behind some of the most famous news photographs of all time. Presented in high definition, this award-winning video gives visitors a compelling and personal look at the combination of elements — patience, timing, planning, persistence, skill, luck — that create Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs. (Total run time: 19 minutes.)
"I-Witness: A 4-D Time Travel Adventure" (Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater): The Newseum’s 450-seat Annenberg Theater is a multi-faceted performance space, capable of hosting public programs, panel discussions, music and drama, film screenings and more. In its primary daytime configuration, the Annenberg Theater presents “I-Witness” an original 13-minute, four-dimensional immersive experience that transports the visitor through time to witness great moments in news history. Theatrical effects including seat movements, wind and water, combine with spectacular three-dimensional film imagery as visitors follow Isaiah Thomas covering the Battle of Lexington, Nellie Bly investigating a women’s insane asylum and Edward R. Murrow broadcasting from World War II London as German bombs crash all around.
"Rise of TV News" (Internet, TV and Radio Gallery): Narrated by Diane Sawyer, "Rise of TV News" captures one of the most exciting eras in the history of news, the explosive growth of television news from 1947 to 1969. From the battlefields of Korea, to man’s first steps on the moon, television emerged as a powerful new force in journalism. Televised images from politics, protests, war and civil rights expanded awareness and influenced debate across the nation during this period. "Rise of TV News" features rarely seen footage from TV news’ earliest days as well as interviews with Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, Reuven Frank and other pioneers from what’s often referred to as the "golden age" of television news. (Total run time: 25 minutes.)
"Running Toward Danger" (Comcast 9/11 Gallery): One of the Newseum’s most powerful productions, "Running Toward Danger" features on-camera, first-person accounts from journalists who covered the tragic 2001 terrorist attack. Including dramatic footage from a news crew who were nearly killed when the World Trade Center South Tower collapsed, "Running Toward Danger" explores the dangers and difficulties faced by reporters as they put themselves in harm’s way to report the most terrifying moment of the new century. (Total run time: 11:30)
The Newseum’s 8,000-square-foot News Corp. News History gallery features five, 25-seat mini-theaters in which visitors can experience an ever-changing variety of video productions. Each of the five "Sidebar Theaters" will present up to three unique films daily.
"45 Words: A Story of the First Amendment" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #1): Narrated by Martin Sheen, “45 Words” explains the origins of the First Amendment and reveals early challenges from within the fledgling U.S. government that nearly scuttled protections of freedom of religion, speech, press, petition and assembly. Using actors to portray historic figures, "45 Words" brings to life a crucial period in American history, and shows how the First Amendment is the foundation for the freedoms all Americans enjoy today. (Total run time: 15 minutes.)
"Sources" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #2): Narrated by John Roberts, "Sources" takes a critical look at the use of anonymous sources and the impact the practice has on the public’s perception of the news media. From Watergate’s "Deep Throat" to the more-recent military source that misled Newsweek magazine about Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, this video gives voice to those who question the use of anonymous sources and allows investigative reporters to explain why such sources are important to the news-gathering process. (Total run time: 6:30)
"Bias" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #2): Featuring interviews with journalists Brian Williams, Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Clarence Page and Cliff Kincaid, “Bias” examines the hot-button issue of media bias. (Total run time: 7 minutes)
"Getting It Right" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #2): Narrated by Bob Schieffer, "Getting it Right" focuses on some of journalism’s most infamous failures as it explores how and why the news media make mistakes. (Total run time: 8:30).
"The Power of the Image” (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #3): This seven-minute video is an updated version of the award-winning production from the original Newseum about the history of photography and features the original narration by Walter Cronkite.
"The History of Newsreels" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #4): This film features some of the most dramatic news footage of the first half of the 20th century through a history of newsreels, which once played an important role in the dissemination of news both domestic and international. (Total run time: 4:30)
"Hollywood: Fact or Fiction: How Journalists are Portrayed on the Silver Screen" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #4): Entertaining and insightful, this presentation features a dazzling montage of scenes from popular motion pictures as it reviews the many ways in which journalists have been portrayed by Hollywood. (Total run time: 11:25)
"The Press and the Civil Rights Movement" (News Corp. News History, Sidebar Theater #5): An award-winning Newseum documentary about the role the press played in the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Filled with dramatic first-person accounts "The Press and the Civil Rights Movement" explores how civil rights leaders such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used the First Amendment, and the power of the press, to expose the injustices of legalized segregation and transform it into an important national issue. (Total run time: 25 minutes.)