New media and the stories shaped by online culture and social networks now have a place in the Newseum, a Washington museum devoted to the history of news.
On Friday, the Newseum opened 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.
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