Who woulda thunk that the Newseum, of all places, could spark such passion?
After our post yesterday — “19 Take The Newseum’s Buyout Program” — this is the kind of feedback we received:“the newseum derives from the gannett gene pool, as you know. that BS preface to downsizing the staff was so gannett-speak. they can’t talk straight EVER. matching the numbers in arlington is not a win, given the arlington museum was like mini compared to the penna ave monster they have now. good luck, newseum.”Re: Wolfgang Puck, who heads the Newseum’s adjacent restaurant, The Source: “When I talked to Puck, he told me that the restaurant is doing very well, despite Newseum attendance being less than half of what was projected.”“You keep swallowing the bull from the newseum. Here are the facts: Twenty six staffers were laid off and this is after 50 floor staff were fired two months ago. The cafeteria is closed Monday and Tuesdays. Attendance is WAY under projections. Only a fraction of the apts. are rented. The company that financed the $400 MILLION in construction bonds went bankrupt, forcing the Newseum into a panic refinancing at 8 percent. Hence the firing of 26 people and probably more to come. The inaugural events are keeping hope alive. You’re getting hosed by the people at the Newseum!”“The Newseum might have better luck if it sharply reduced its admissions prices. With so many free Smithsonian museums to choose from, $66 for a family of four is quite expensive for folks visiting D.C. unless they are big news junkies. It’s too bad, since the content is so good.”And, when we asked the Newseum (after their original response), “Why, in light of such positive news, 19 folks would take the buyout package, or why a buyout package was offered?”, they responded: “The Freedom Forum, which is principal funder of the Newseum, has experienced losses in its endowment similar to other non-profit foundations because of the dramatic downturn in the stock market. The endowment is down about 25% and the leadership of the foundation and the museum decided the prudent action to take, sooner rather than later, was a belt-tightening that included some buyouts.”