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Deadline U.S.A.

An enormous marble structure engraved with the text of the First Amendment used to decorate the facade of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Now, just over a year after the journalism museum’s closing, the slab is set to find a new home at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Weighing 50 tons and standing 74 feet tall, the marble tablet is made up of multiple pieces, which are now being dismantled and placed in storage. The Philadelphia museum expects to install the slab later this year and hold a dedication ceremony in the fall as part of a programming series on the First Amendment.

As the Associated Press points out, the tablet’s new location in Philadelphia is an iconic spot for American history. The slab will overlook Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were adopted; the Liberty Bell and First Bank of the United States are located nearby.

Read The Smithsonian article here, where they also note:

When workers began dismantling the tablet in February, photographs of the process captured by photojournalist Megan Smith went viral. Some social media users seized on them as a metaphor for a supposed decline in freedom of the press or journalistic integrity, as Mimi Montgomery wrote for Washingtonian.

Newseum remains an online resource.


In other newspaper news…

Alden Global Capital is setting up to acquire Tribune Publishing
and is hoping to take over The Los Angeles Times and affiliates.
From Wikipedia:

In March 2018, Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post, called Alden “one of the most ruthless of the corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism.” Alden received critical coverage from the editorial staff at the Denver Post, who described Alden Global Capital as “vulture capitalists” after multiple staff layoffs.

AGC controls the MediaNews Group.

From Poynter, earlier this month:

Alden Global Capital, on the march to own more and more of the industry, has already reached a tentative agreement to acquire Tribune Publishing. Alden also appears to be — not a lock — but the most likely to win any bidding contest for the Los Angeles Times, along with The San Diego Union-Tribune and some real estate.

Should both transactions go through, Alden, notorious for its cost-cutting, could own the nation’s two largest metros — the Times and the Chicago Tribune — as soon as mid-summer. It would also pick up other Tribune papers like the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Hartford Courant and the New York Daily News.

Most promising financially for Alden would be control of the Los Angeles Times, a ring of suburban dailies near Los Angeles, The Orange County Register (which it already owns) and The San Diego Union-Tribune (which comes with the Times). That would amount to control of the huge Southern California market, with half the megastate’s 40 million residents.

Alden CEO Heath Freeman and founder Randall Smith have become known as grim reapers as they pull profits from titles like The Denver Post. The hedge fund’s drive to make more and more news acquisitions has spanned a decade including unsuccessful bids for Gannett and McClatchy.


“It’s not enough any more to give ’em just news. They want comics, contests, puzzles. They want to know how to bake a cake, win friends, and influence the future. Ergo, horoscopes, tips on the horses, interpretation of dreams so they can win on the numbers lottery. And, if they accidentally stumble on the first page… news” – – – Humphrey Bogart as Ed Hutcheson in Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

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