On Friday, the Newseum planned to open its 2,500-square-foot HP New Media Gallery to show visitors that new media is all about participation. Visitors can post pictures or comments and build their own news home pages, choosing which news stories and photographs they think are most important.
Visiting the gallery is like walking into an Internet portal with video walls, touch screens, games and scrolling Twitter feeds on all sides.
One wall of touch screens has a storyboard of some of the biggest events of the past decade that have been reported by citizen journalists, as well as online hoaxes that were later debunked. It explores the web-based interaction that fueled revolution in Egypt and propelled Justin Bieber to YouTube stardom before his first record, as well as the ethical dilemmas over posting sensitive pictures and videos online.
Newseum Vice President for Broadcasting Paul Sparrow said it's a chance to teach young visitors about digital literacy. In an age where news headlines appear at random on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, users have to decide who and what to believe.
"We're trying to be true to the new media experience," he said. "You sort of become your own editor. Who is saying this? Why are they saying it? And can you believe them?"
Another section pulls live feeds from more than 30 news sites and asks visitors to design their own web pages, choosing which stories and photographs to give the most prominence. They can publish their pages in the gallery and on the Newseum's website.
HP is the first technology company to become a founding partner of the Newseum, giving $5 million. The 10-year agreement also will bring some of the latest technology from HP Labs to keep the gallery current with the latest tools. HP's touch screen walls and rear-projection screens in the gallery are the first public installations of the devices, Sparrow said.
This is the first new permanent gallery added since the museum opened in 2008 on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol.
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