New Media – Media

Lesson objectiveTo explore what the new media is
Lesson outcomes• How the media has changed
• The impact
• What the new media is

New media refers to technological based media which requires some level of interaction from the audience. Livingstone and Bovill, highlight that there is a blurring of boundaries between different types of old media and new, such as interactive games. This has created cultural convergence according to Jenkins whereby individuals are exposed to a variety of cultures e.g. Marketisation.

Features of New Media

Lister et al states that the true difference between old and new media is that the old media platforms its shows through a homogeneous approach, whereas new media adopts a degree of individualisation. Lister proceeds to claim that there are 5 features that distinguish new media. They are digitalisation, interactivity, hypertextuality, dispersal, virtuality.

  • Digitalisation.

This is using digital platforms, e.g. computers to engage your audience.

  • Interactivity.

There have been three versions of interactivity. Web 1.0 involved traditional media accepting a homogeneous passive audience. Web 2.0 involves interacting a sharing media.

Jenkins suggests that Web 2.0 has created two types of cultures:

Participatory Culture. This results in individuals no longer being passive to journalists and editors. Instead, there is now a relationship, working together. Audiences now have changed from just accepting the information to now even producing it.

Collective Intelligence. The world knows something about a little, and little about a lot. In short, society works together to get a better understanding of the news through discussion. Very rarely now, does the news reflect the view of the business owner, because journalists talk to each other etc, and so too does its readers. This changes the nature of the news.

  • Hypertextuality

Usually seen through advertising or sharing programs such as Wikipedia, whereby information leads to other information through links.

  • Dispersal

Who makes and owns the news is changing as well as how the news is produced. News can now be created by individuals at home on any platform, rather than just by editors. 6 billion hours worth of videos are watched every month.

  • Virtuality

This refers to how people immerse themselves in media and the impact it has. Think about why people use media now and how it shapes a person’s identity.

Customers and stratification of new media.

The average person uses 16 hours worth of internet per week, compared to 12 hours a week for television (Microsoft survey). 48% of people have a social media account.

  • In 2018, 90% of adults in the UK were recent internet users, up from 89% in 2017.
  • 8.4% of adults had never used the internet in 2018, down from 9.2% in 2017.
  • Virtually all adults aged 16 to 34 years were recent internet users (99%) in 2018, compared with 44% of adults aged 75 years and over.
  • 20% of disabled adults had never used the internet in 2018, down from 22% in 2017.
  • Northern Ireland is catching up with the other UK regions in recent internet use, reaching 86% in 2018; however, it remained the region with the lowest recent
  • For UK stratified data on the media, visit –
  • For Global data on the media, visit

Social class inequality

Upper and middle class tend to use the internet more than once. The reason for this is because naturally, they can afford the internet more. Dutton and Blank (2013) highlight that 65% of the offline population belong to the bottom two social classes. This is creating something called a digital divide. Helsper (2011), shows that a digital underclass has formed whereby those with poor education and unemployment are those who tend to be offline. An important point is to also understand that even those who tend to match this are unable to fully utilise the internet. Livingstone and Wang (2011), shows that this issue is worsening. Depending on the social class you are, depends on the type of software you use on the internet. Half of the users on Linkedin earn £50,000 or more, in comparison to 25% of those users on Twitter and 20% on Facebook.

Age differences

The article below identifies trends with age and the internet.

Boyle (2007), shows that online technology has now become part of the socialisation process and that young people learn how to operate it much easier than old supporting current trends.

In 2017, 88% of adults aged 16 and over go online, unchanged since 2016 (86%) and 2015 (87%). • Nearly all adults aged 16-54 go online (98% for 16-24s, 97% for 25-34s, 97% for 35-44s, 96% for 45-54s). This decreases to 82% among 55-64s, 65% among 65-74s and 53% among those aged 75 and over. • There has been an increase since 2016 in the number of 35-44s who are online (97% vs. 93%).

Social GradeDescription% HRP population (UK)

AB = Higher & intermediate managerial, administrative, professional occupations – 22.17%

C1 = Supervisory, clerical & junior managerial, administrative, professional occupations – 30.84%

C2 = Skilled manual occupations – 20.94%

DE =Semi-skilled & unskilled manual occupations, Unemployed and lowest grade occupations – 26.05%

Compared to 2016, adults are more likely to use a smartphone to go online • Adults are more likely than in 2016 to use a smartphone to go online (70% vs. 66% in 2016). This has been driven by those aged 35-44 (90% vs 82%) and 45-54 (83% vs.73%), those in the AB socio-economic group (77% vs. 70%) and women (72% vs. 66%). • A quarter of adults (26%) only go online through devices other than a computer, and 8% only use a smartphone to go online. Both these measures are unchanged since 2016. Since 2016, adults are less likely to use a TV set and less likely to say it is the device they would miss the most • While the number of UK adults with a TV set at home remains unchanged (97% for both 2017 and 2016) fewer say they use a TV set at home (91% vs. 93% in 2016). • UK adults are less likely than in 2016 to say their TV set is the device they would miss the most (28% vs. 32% in 2016), driven by a decrease among 35-44s (19% vs. 27% in 2016). • Among UK adults overall, mobile phones are still the device people say they would miss the most. However, those aged 55+ continue to say they would miss their TV set the most.

Gender differences

The article below is rather interesting when citing the future of this trend.

Ofcom (2011 to 2014), found:

  • Computer consoles are more popular for men. Ereaders are used mostly by women.
  • Men spend three times as much time online than women.
  • More men own Smartphones than women.
  • Females are more addicted to Smartphones than men.
  • Young women receive and send more texts than men.
  • Women are more stressed using the internet than men.

Li and Kirkup found that female students had less confidence using the internet and devices than men.


Location is one of the biggest factors in internet usage. The digital divide in this context refers to the fact that 85% of websites are written in English and most web content is created by Britain and the USA.

The relationship between old and new media

Currently, there is a synergy between old and new media. There will come at some point, a time where new media will overtake old, however, new media currently operates with and complements old media.

As we have already established, new media is changing the shape of old media, albeit slowly. According to Bivens (2008), there have been three effects due to these changes.

1) A shift in traditional news flow cycles. With the rise of citizen journalism, there has been a shift away from the media-controlling the information its consumers interact with to a balance instead. This balance means that consumers now have a say in what the media reports on.

2) Heightened accountability. News corporations have attempted to become more open and transparent because of an increase in capability for consumers to scrutinise the content. Consumers can now scrutinise content much easier due to an increase in online news.

3) Evolving news values. The news is moving away from being professional to accessible. News now has to exist 24/7 to complete on a global market. Citizen journalists and YouTube are used much more widely now to ensure corporations can truly have access to global news any time.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (2015), highlights that old media is struggling to make money and is moving towards digitisation.

McNair (2006), suggests the top-down control by the media is weakening. This has made news more regulated by its audiences. With the rise of citizen journalism, the news is now built from the bottom up. Philo (2012), states that agenda setting had huge power in diverting attention away from anything other than the producer’s agenda. Churnalism and infotainment has increased rapidly due to cost-cutting. This has occurred in order for the media to attract young digital audiences in a world where news must be 24/7.

The significance of the new media in contemporary society.

Curran and Seaton (2010), suggests there are two general views on the new media’s significance in contemporary society:

Cultural optimist view – Neophilliacs state that the new media plays a positive view in today’s society which accounts for its rapid rise.

Cultural pessimist view – states that the media makes a negative impact on society.

Cultural optimists argue that although ownership might be narrowing, choice is not. In July 2013, consumers in the UK had over 500 TV channels to choose from and in 2015 over 172 million websites to use. There has also been a vast increase in media content related to consumer production e.g. website and blog building. This has resulted in greater democracy. There are two aspects to this increase:

Narrower political aspect – with an increase in consumer focus and interactiveness, Companies are more accountable.

Wider concept of democracy – technology has allowed people to voice their concerns more and unite as one giving them greater power.

McNair argues that “knowledge is power” and since this power is now held by the audience, they have more control. This can be measured by and increase in visible social movements, e.g. the support globally for the Venezuelan opposition.

The case below also shows how public support on an issue can change policy.

Finally, cultural optimists refer to the Arab Spring Uprising citing that without the internet and citizen journalism, the spread of this rebellion wouldn’t have occurred.

As has been clear throughout the module, there is certainly an increase in information. A key example you could refer to is the fact that there are many websites which are designed to give patients more control over their worries rather than waiting to see the doctor each time. See

McLuhan (1962) demonstrates how globalisation is naturally linked to the new media. The impact of the new media on globalisation has resulted in a blurring of boundaries and an increase in shared culture. Social cohesion has now become a norm in itself. Postmodernists use this platform to suggest that new media contributes to an increase in social diversity promoting global diversity and hybridity. An increase in global interaction is the result of the breaking down of barriers geographically.

Cultural pessimist view.

Cultural pessimists argue validity of current content is a major issue. With the increase of citizen journalism, we must as an audience question the sources validity. This lack of clarity is certainly seen by Donald Trump as President questioning news facts.

​Cultural imperialism is an issue too. Media allows media hegemony to occur in certain countries and currently this is visible through Americanisation.

Not only does this create a direct threat to cultures who are none western, but also promotes a lack of democracy. As we have seen in the media, usage is not equal. There is still control within and using the media by the middle and upper class. This creates a glass ceiling in not just learning, but also presenting new ideas for working class individuals and consumers.

The power of unelected companies controlling the internet too is a worry. The internet is now used in all government sectors. Despite being in a film (Terminator – see below), it does depict one of the key issues of cultural pessimists. MacKinnon highlights that these major companies who run the internet now hold more power over us than the government. In recent news, we can now see the media being used as a tool to manipulate elections (see the American elections).

Seaton (2010) states that these companies have power but no responsibility.

Cultural pessimists also claim that there is a direct threat of accountability. Evidence such as China’s control of the internet demonstrates that governments and companies can control what we see. This goes against our rights and can directly control and manipulate us. In addition to censorship, technology also allows governments to use surveillance to monitor its people in effect, controlling them.

There is also an issue of ownership. Despite what cultural optimists argue, ownership has narrowed in the media. If ownership had no direct impact and the audience did instead, why are some media outlets actively racist or create moral panics such as the Daily Mail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: