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Newseum Taps USA Today's Paulson

Kenneth Paulson, editor and senior VP of USA Today, will become president and COO of the Newseum and the Freedom Forum in early 2009. Both the Forum and its Newseum are products of the Gannett Foundation, the corporate foundation backed by USA Today's publisher. 

Paulson succeeds Peter Prichard, who is retiring but not before he works on some special projects over the next year, according to the museum.  

Like Paulson, Prichard was USA Today editor before moving over to the museum a dozen years ago and presiding over its moves from modest digs in Arlington, Va., to a giant and imposing edifice just a few shoe-leather reporting steps from the Capitol that opened earlier this year.

It has since become the home to regular TV shows—notably ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos—and a popular venue for press conferences and discussions about the state and fate of the news business. Of course, it is also an interactive museum that lets kids do their own stand-ups or learn where journalists have triumphed and, occasionally, fallen down on the job of imparting straight and impartial news.

It will be a homecoming for Paulson, who was a senior VP or the Freedom Forum and executive director of its First Amendment Center from 1997 until he took over at the paper in 2004. 

Paulson was among the journalists who founded the national newspaper in 1982. He has managed newsrooms in five states, is a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists and served on the board of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.