The expression “new media” has recently come into frequent use in common vocabulary although it has been mentioned a long time ago by researchers conducting social, economic, political and cultural studies of information and communication technologies.
Although new media does not have a clear and complete definition one may associate it with the process of digitalization (that allows information of all kind, in all formats, to be carried out with the same efficiency and also intermingled), new means of transmission by cable, satellite and radio (which have expanded their capacity to transmit an increased volume of information at a lower cost, all over the world), new methods of storage and retrieval (video recorder, CD-ROM, compact disc, DVD), the internet and many more.
Considering the way in which new media is seen in today’s society, one could easily argue that new media is highly linked with technology (the application of scientific knowledge for a practical purpose). However, as technologies are still being developed at an astonishing rate (every six months or so, improvements are made that bring new possibilities in the collection, storing, processing and transfer of information), a precise and stable definition of new media is quite impossible to give.
Therefore, as Doctor Vinod Vidwans coordinator of New Media at National Institute of Design argues in his work New Media, The Approach Document, “new media may be defined as an innovative media that generated experiences using all the possible divergent media, expertise and emerging technologies. ” (New Media, An Approach Document, 2004) Because technologies are in a continuous and rapid progress, the users of new media must have diverse skills not only in new technologies or emerging technologies but also in all traditional media techniques.
In order to succeed in a media saturated society, media professionals must be able to use the new techniques smoothly, gracefully and easily as much as the traditional ones. For instance, it can be easy but useful to know how to take a picture with a camera but important to know what one might do with that picture and even more so to understand how that picture fits into a larger media ecosystem. This is just a basic example given to create an idea of the required levels of knowledge regarding new media techniques in order to at least survive in today’s society.
Moreover, in order to create a larger and much clearer image about the fact that new media demand new methods, I have decided to focus my attention on an article from The Wall Street Journal called “Making Old Media New Again”. As the title suggests, the article looks at the way in which one might bring traditional media on track again. Although the example used in the article is from 1941, I consider it relevant for the purpose of this essay because the “old media” of our days used to be “new media” at a certain time in the past.
So, even though radio is today a medium that could be considered part of traditional media (although one may argue that in respect to radio transmission, main changes have been made in the capacity of the channels and the volume of traffic), in 1941, as the article mentioned above suggests, radio had been regarded as a big threat for printed media/newspapers (old media) and was considered to be a form of new media.
The article (The Wall Street Journal, 2009) suggests that traditional media could survive simultaneously with the new media as long as new methods are applied so that old media is able to keep up with the new technologies: “Editors and publishers might consult a roadmap for how newspaper can live alongside new media that was drawn up more than 50 years ago by Bernard Kilgore”.