HP gives $5m to Newseum

HP is doing its bit for the free press by donating $5m to a museum exhibit that aims to explore the evolving role of technology in journalism.

The company said yesterday the money would go to build a new gallery at the interactive Newseum in Washington.

The HP New Media Gallery is due to open in early 2012.

According to HP, it “will provide an immersive experience that will enable Newseum visitors from around the globe to explore technology’s role in the democratization of content and news. 

“The gallery will show how technology has drastically changed the collection and dissemination of news, empowering citizens while challenging traditional media business models.”

The $5m gift, which means HP becomes a Founding Partner of the Newseum, will be paid out over 10 years.

Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at HP, said: “This interactive, innovative venture will examine what the changing equation means for the news media and news consumers around the world.”

As part of the announcement, Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer of the Personal Systems Group at HP, and Shelby Coffey III, trustee of the Newseum, gave a sneak preview of what was planned for the new gallery. 

This included a display of two 42-inch HP multi-touch displays featuring videos of “great moments in news history” intertwined with breaking news feeds delivered on Twitter.

HP did not say if these news history moments at the Newseum, which has a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment on its exterior, went back as far as 2006 when the company was embroiled in a row over spying on journalists. 

Probably not the type of scoop HP, or its previous chairman and chief exec Carly Fiorina, would be looking for.