What is New Media?

“The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette” –Haskins

Ed Stein, edsteinink.com

To understand clearly what a thing is, sometimes it’s necessary to begin with what it isn’t. What’s now referred to as ‘traditional’ or ‘old’ media required an extensive period of editing and production, which introduced a delay in its propagation to the public. Recall that text, such as the Bible, was once copied word-for-word by hand before the printing press. Imagine the availability of new media in biblical times and receiving a ‘tweet’ to your mobile device reading, “Jesus performing miracles on riverbank, come now.”

New media is digital media that can be accessed in near real time. The interplay of social conventions and technological capabilities provides new media opportunity for a more humanistic approach in regards to the transference of data. Individuals no longer simply sit and absorb the works of others, but interact and contribute on a local, national, or global scale. Though what is considered new media can change almost overnight, old media is less ambiguously noted by Chalkley et. al to be “print, radio, film and television” (2012, p. 14).

Another way to look at new media would be to consider the idea of networking. Networking has always held a key role in the professional development of individuals, as it allowed professionals greater exposure to a wider audience. New media has this same effect.

Conceptualizing new media

18369823 - vector illustration of a street in new york city at night
Isabel Da Silva Azevedo/123RF.com

American clergyman, Mark Batterson, remarked, “New media is like a megaphone. It amplifies your ability to reach more people.” In popular culture, new media has  become a catchall phrase for what is, now, commonly associated with social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.). However, more broadly, it is digital media that can be described holistically as an instantaneous sharing of resources, exchange of knowledge, and consumption of entertainment by way of the latest technology and most current social constructs. In the contrast between new media and old media, instantaneous is the keyword.

Examples of new media

The best way to know is to see and do. So, take a look at all the varieties of media shown in this short video. Keep up and see if you can sort old from new!

Daniel Shepherd, 2013

Comparative views on new media


The questions What is media? and What is new media? have been anatomized, and examples of both given. For a comprehensive explication, try Defining New Media. Au Courant Communications’ posts will pivot to more of an exhibition of relevant work and exploration of the many voices of new media — Chalkley et. al, Janet Murray, Lev Manovich and USF professor, John Stewart, to name a few. Of which, a favorite — Murray’s “Inventing the Medium” (2003) — offers an abstract explanation of new media that involves something of a mechanical amplification of the human being in representation of human existence primarily for the purpose of human advancement. Computers and internet are described as tools, which the author likens to the microscope and telescope, providing “better ways of thinking about [the world] … [and a] more powerful way of mastering complexity” (Murray, 2003, p. 4) set apart by procedural, participatory, encyclopedic, and spatial properties (Murray, 2003).

Keep the cogs going; leave a comment and share your own views on new media. ∎∎∎


  1. Chalkley, T., Brown, A., Cinque, T., Warren, B., Hobbs, M., & Finn, M. (2012). Communication, new media, and everyday life. South Melbourne: Oxford.
  2. Da Silva Azevedo, I. (n.d.). Vector illustration of a street in New York City at night [stock image]. http://www.123rf.com
  3. Gmast3r. (n.d.). Businessman head man silhouette cog wheel doodle hand draw business concept sketch background vector illustration [stock image]. http://www.123rf.com
  4. Murray, J. (2003). Inventing the medium. The new media reader (pp. 3-11). Cambridge and London: MIT Press.
  5. Rawpixel. (n.d.). Brainstorming sharing online global communication cloud concept [stock image]. http://www.123rf.com
  6. Shepherd, Daniel. (13 Mar 2013). What is media? [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/M89_wjcwzfY