March 19, 2008

Knight Foundation Grants Newseum $25 Million

WASHINGTON — At a ceremony unveiling the cornerstone of the Newseum, Alberto Ibargüen, chairman of the museum's board of trustees and president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced today a $25 million grant from the foundation to the Newseum to honor the news legacy of the Knight brothers.

The grant — the largest single investment from the news community to the newest museum in the nation's capital — gives the Knight name to two broadcast studios and a conference center at the Newseum, the largest single project ever devoted to journalism and the free flow of news.

"There is a great natural partnership between the Newseum, the Freedom Forum and Knight Foundation," said Charles L. Overby, chief executive officer of the Newseum. "It has been an unexpected and great joy to have support for this project from people with no previous affiliation to us."

Ibargüen cited an annual Knight Foundation survey of high school students about First Amendment rights, which he said every year shows conflicting perceptions about those rights. That survey illustrates and emphasizes the importance of the Newseum, where "Americans of every age and variety can engage in easy conversation about free speech," Ibargüen said.

In a ceremony unveiling the building's cornerstone, Overby gave credit to the two individuals whose names appear on the stone: architect James Polshek and Newseum and Freedom Forum founder Al Neuharth. Both men took part in the unveiling.

Polshek praised the Newseum's board of trustees for their constant support of the building project. "Without your confidence and leadership, this idea would not have sprung from the Earth," he said. "This is a dream come true."

Neuharth honored "this magnificent glass house on America's Main Street" and expressed his vision for the museum. "The Newseum will become a shrine of inspiration and hope for all who believe in this country, the First Amendment and a free press," he said.

Click here for the full press release.

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