5 Reasons to Dump the Term ‘New Media’
February 18, 2014
Adrianne Flynn

The wordsmith and journalist in me is becoming increasingly offended at the use of the term “new media,” and I think it’s time this quaint phrase is damned to the dustbin of history – along with, well, dustbins. Here are five reasons why:

1. I remember clearly when “new media” started working for me! That was the day I uploaded a story on the Republican National Convention from poolside in San Diego via my laptop and mobile phone. It was also when then-Sen. Bob Dole was nominated. In 1996.

2) We’re in a world where my 93-year-old father-in-law is shooting video of his great-grandchild on his iPad and emailing it out to the clan’s diaspora. What’s so new about “new media” now, huh?


3)  The definition of “new media,” here from PC Mag, should be enough to stop usage of the term right now:

“The forms of communicating in the digital world, which includes publishing on CDs, DVDs and, most significantly, over the Internet. It implies that the user obtains the material via desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets. Every company in the developed world is involved with new media. Contrast with old media.” (Note: Every company IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD is involved with new media.)

Publishing on CDs! Revolutionary!


4)  Maybe it’s just me, but technology that is more than a quarter century old really can’t be called “new” anymore.

Ask.com says that the BBC made the first digital broadcast in 1995, 19 years ago, right before Bob Dole and I shared our day in the sun. The first congressional hearing on HDTV?  1987, according to The Benton Foundation’s Web pages – 27 years ago.

5) Just saying “new media” dates us as journalists. Do you think my students think of smartphones and tablets as “new” media? To them, media is media is media.



Maybe this is why some people think the business is dead – because we can’t even talk about ourselves without using terms that are antiquated — not to mention inaccurate and longer than necessary. So, please join me in the latest innovative idea in journalism – calling media media.

– The post includes contributions from Sarah Siguenza

  • http://seanmussenden.com/ Sean Mussenden

    If I could purchase Zack Morris’ cell phone today and use it on current cell phone networks, I would absolutely do so.

  • Lisa Rossi

    One question — when you transmitted a story using your laptop and cell phone in 1996, did you have to connect your cell phone to your laptop? I had to do that in the early 2000s to file stories.

  • e2toe4

    New media isn’t about this or that technology but about the peer to peer and disintermediation that ‘digital’ has enabled. Journalism is in a mess not because the news side fell over but because the ad side did.

    The problem at present isn’t really the ‘new’ media so much as the failure of the old media to find viable models..that don’t depend on internet trawling, twitter echoes, and interns to keep a low value added model (just about) afloat.

  • Danna Walker

    Totally agree. Also, journalists claimed the term “new media” as though the internet was only about journalism and media. For similar reasons written here, I’d like to also drop use of the word “convergence.”