ARLINGTON, Va., April 18 -- Vice President Al Gore, UPI Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas and USA Today founder Al Neuharth have made news at the opening of the first interactive museum dedicated to journalism. The Newseum, in Arlington, Va., gives a behind-the-scenes look at how stories have been reported over the years from tribal drums to cyberspace. The Newseum chronicles all of the great stories that have been told over the years by journalists with a multimedia exhibit and what its sponsors say is the 'greatest display' of historic newspapers, magazines and vintage and contemporary newscasts. The museum also focuses on the link between journalism and free speech. Adjoining the museum is Freedom Park, dedicated to freedom and journalists who have died around the world while reporting the news. 'The public standards for journalism are higher than ever and perhaps some journalists don't fully understand that,' Neuharth said at the opening ceremony. 'And the flip side of that is we believe mainstream journalism is better than ever, and some in the public may not be fully aware of that.' Thomas, who has covered the White House through eight presidencies, joked: 'Kennedy said I'd be a nice girl if I could get that pen and pad out of my hand. What Lyndon Johnson said is unprintable.' She said: 'Do not expect to win any popularity contests. Our polls are low, but we say, 'So what?' It's our holy grail to follow the truth wherever it leads us.
We know we are the messengers who so often bring the bad news.' Gore, who was a reporter at the Nashville Tennessean before he entered politics, hailed the Newseum as 'the very first time that we are able to come together in a museum to celebrate those who write and relay the drafts, the man they use to write and relay the drafts, and most important the freedom that allows them to write and relay the drafts.' The Newseum is funded and operated by the Freedom Forum, a non- partisan, international dedicated to press, free speech and free spirit. Admission is free. ---
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