Jun 26, 2013

Media Contact:
Jonathan Thompson, senior manager of media relations
202/292-6353
jothompson@newseum.org

NEWSEUM INSTITUTE LAUNCHED

Nonprofit Expands First Amendment Education and Advocacy

WASHINGTON — The Newseum announced today the creation of the Newseum Institute. The Institute will bring under one banner the organization's wide range of First Amendment educational classes, public programs, and thought leadership initiatives as part of its long term strategic plan to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment – religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. The Newseum Institute is committed to the civic education of the public as a means of preserving our First Amendment liberties.

Many of the Newseum Institute's initiatives will focus on educating young people. In 2012, more than 31,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers participated in the Newseum's national standards-linked, educator-led classes, and nearly half of the museum's visitors were 18 or younger. Teachers around the world also downloaded and used free online lesson plans and classes offered by the Newseum. The Newseum Institute will continue to offer resources for teachers in three main areas: headlines of history, journalism and the First Amendment.

The new organization also will engage the public and schools on issues including how to apply critical thinking in online reporting, how the First Amendment affects our society and the role of journalists in today's media landscape. Plans for the Newseum Institute include an increase in programs such as the Newseum's popular "Inside Media," where authors, journalists, politicians and others assemble to discuss, share and explore First Amendment issues.

The Newseum Institute will continue the organization's long-standing initiatives of recruiting, training, mentoring and retaining a diverse workforce in newsrooms throughout the United States, assisting the nation's media in meeting the needs of a continually diversifying audience.

The Newseum Institute's initiatives also will include current First Amendment Center and Diversity Institute programs such as the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and the Religious Freedom Education Project, along with all of the educational programs that currently take place at the Newseum.

James C. Duff, president and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum and CEO of the Newseum, also will serve as president and CEO of the Newseum Institute. Gene Policinski, the former senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, will serve as its chief operating officer. A veteran journalist, Policinski has worked in newspapers, radio, television and online operations and is a longtime advocate of the First Amendment and diversity in journalism as essential components of a free press.

"Combining our educational outreach and our First Amendment programs strengthens our organization and enables us to accomplish our mission on a much grander scale," said Duff. Policinski added, "Every major social change in the United States has been fueled by exercising our First Amendment rights and, as recent events demonstrate, we need to increase our efforts to educate and remind Americans about the importance of those freedoms."

Upcoming Newseum Institute programs at the Newseum include:

  • Implications of the PRISM Program
    Co-sponsored by the Newseum Institute and the American Bar Association
    June 25, 2013, 4 p.m.
    A provocative program exploring the implications of the disclosure of the PRISM program and the hot-button issues of government secrecy, privacy and the role of a free press in an era of emerging national security technology.
  • Inside Media: 2013 State of the First Amendment
    July 16, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
    This "Inside Media" program will feature a presentation and discussion of the results of the "2013 State of the First Amendment" national survey, conducted annually by the First Amendment Center.

For more information about the Newseum Institute and these programs, visit newseum.org.

The Newseum Institute will conduct most of its programs and initiatives from the Newseum, one of the top attractions in Washington, D.C. Programming also will continue at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi.

Three current and former university presidents will serve on the Newseum Institute's board of trustees: Jim Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota; Robert Khayat, chancellor emeritus of the University of Mississippi; and Nick Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

About the Newseum

The mission of the Newseum is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through education, information and entertainment. One of the top attractions in Washington, D.C., the Newseum's 250,000-square-foot news museum offers visitors a state-of-the-art experience that blends news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits, and its Newseum Institute serves as a forum for the study, exploration and education of the First Amendment. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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