Newseum: We don’t control what happens in our rented rooms

After posting Boston Globe editor Marty Baron’s tweet and his paper’s story about Mitt Romney’s people kicking reporters out of a Q-and-A session at the Newseum, I told media relations manager Jonathan Thompson that his Newseum looks bad when journalists are treated shabbily there.

I suggested to Thompson that the Newseum put a clause in its room-rental contracts requiring journalists be respected in the House of Journalism — for example, not be marched out of a room when it’s time for politicians to face questions.

Here’s Thompson’s response:

Hi Jim, The Newseum’s two-level conference center and other rental spaces in the building host many private functions. When a private group rents conference or event space at the Newseum, they control the event content and guest list. Private rental events here are no different from private rentals at other institutions. Revenues from event rentals help support the Newseum’s mission, which is to educate the public about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. Public events sponsored by the Newseum are always open to the news media. Best, Jonathan

DAN KENNEDY WRITES ON MY FACEBOOK WALL:

“How difficult would it have been to go with this instead?

“Hi Jim, The Newseum’s two-level conference center and other rental spaces in the building host many private functions. This is the first time something like this has ever come up. We’re looking into it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Your suggestion of a contract clause respecting reporters’ right of access is a good one, and it’s something we’re going to discuss. Revenues from event rentals help support the Newseum’s mission, which is to educate the public about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. So I agree it makes us look like hypocrites to allow anyone to ban the press from an event in our building. Best, Jonathan”

* Reporters kicked out of Romney Q-and-A at Newseum (JimRomenesko.com)

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