New Media versus Traditional Media Formats
In the fast paced of modern technological communications tools, people only require one device to acquire all sorts of information, the computer. The internet-ready capabilities of modern personal computers, in this sense, provide opportunities for the modern American political landscape to convey their message and share their opinion on global issues to millions of Americans across the world.
However, the credibility of modern technology in giving accurate information is garnering a substantial amount of distrust. This is, in large part, brought about by what is dubbed as the new media, and its openness which allow people to disseminate information regardless if the sources or the information itself are reliable or not. In any event, such conflict raises the question, are new media formats as competent as their traditional counterparts?
In the late 1980s, America and the rest of the world witnessed the dawn of a new age in communication. The traditional formats in the field of broadcasting such as radio and television talk shows, television news programs, print media, and even youth-oriented networks started to feel deem politics as an aspect of social awareness. Likewise, the rise of modern technology such as networking, pocket PCs, the internet, and Personal Digital Assistant revitalized conventional communications and adapted them for use in new formats (Cook 2006). The aforementioned innovative media formats dedicated to information sharing and distribution have come to be known as the New Media (Cook 2006).
Timothy E. Cook (2006) writes that the new media departs from their traditional counterparts by providing easy access to all people, even to those outside the media and political domains. Cook (2006) further entails that another certain premise of new media is the elimination of boring formal text book writing and replace it with more provocative, casual, and diverse manner of writing.
Similar to traditional media, new media also comes in varying formats; these include the internet , podcasts, , and mobile telecommunication technology, just to name a few. Podcasts are one of the rising new media formats available for the general public. Information in this type of new media is disseminated through the use of syndication feeds that come from the internet. Being categorized as a multimedia file, Podcasts are accessed and played through mobile electronic devices and desk top personal computers (What are Types of New Media 2004).
Mobile telecommunication devices such as cellular phones, meanwhile, ventured to the realm of media upon introduction of ringing tones during the late 90s (Farley 2007). By the turn of the millennium, cellular phone technology flourished as new capabilities that enable mobile phones to store, read, transmit, and receive data were introduced. To date, cellular phones can now be used to watch news and other television programs, read news articles, read horoscopes, seek jobs, access the internet, send and receive e-mails, watch movies, listen to music (Farley 2007).
The internet, on the other hand, is a system of linked networks that exchange data through a communication process called packet switching (Gralla, Ishida, Reimer, & Adams 1998, 1-2). The interactive nature of the internet allows people to send and receive electronic text messages through e-mail as well as documents, images, sound files, videos, movies, images, and other resources. In the modern day and age, the internet is used by media companies and news networks to deliver news and information to a massive audience.
As a digitally enhanced source of information, the various platforms of new media differ from the traditional media formats in a number of ways. Primarily, the contents of print media such as newspapers and other published materials are cannot be edited after it has been published. In new media, the digital nature of its contents can instantly be edited upon determining any faults, lapses, or errors within a certain article in news articles. Likewise, political affairs tend to be changing most of the time, thus the advantage of relatively reliable information can be done right away. In this context, digital media proves to be more practical and economic as the requirement for republication is already eliminated.
The new media offers a doubtful sense of credibility as digitally embedded information may be altered and affected by viruses and other malicious files. While the traditional media formats of radio, newspaper, and television establishes integrity and credibility of reporters for the sources are credible and reliable. Also, considering the lack of governing body that would implement certain rules for ideal internet usage, internet-based information may be written under pseudonyms and aliases that will challenge the credibility of the source. In addition, digital media
In terms of sources, all, if not, most sources for traditional and new media come from a single entity. As previously mentioned, the only difference comes in the manner of writing. Therefore, the difference also comes in the target audience the two media formats pursue. Traditional media formats pursue more mature audience who prefer the formal way of receiving information. Mostly, traditional media audiences are people who stay at home most of the time. The new media’s target audiences, in the meantime, are more inclined on rousing interest to people who adapt the fast paced lifestyle of the modern day and age. These people considered to be “on the go” and prefer to gain all the information they need from a single medium or device.
Considering that the traditional media promises the most reliable source for the information they disseminate, however, it does not necessarily mean that the new media’s authenticity is incompetent. In fact, Richard Davis and Diana Owen believe that the new media has also garnered attention from their traditional counterparts (Davis and Owen 1998 206). Furthermore, the format expansion of traditional media formats to include new media platforms, the emergence of online newspapers, video streamed news reports, and internet radio stations is a sign that new media is just as reliable as the traditional formats.
In another note, Timothy E. Cook argues that the rise of new media has set a trend that blurs the line between what is new and what is information. Take the case of the news updates on the 2008 United States Presidential Elections, most news from the traditional media formats incline on updates to the presidential race and the main agenda of the candidates. While the new media reports appear be gossip scoops about the lives of the candidates intended for readers of a weekly entertainment magazine.
In many ways, the traditional and new media conventions bequeath similarities and differences. Likewise both media formats also offer a their advantages and disadvantages to people. In any event, if there is one way for both formats to compromise their principles or meet half-way in covering political affairs, it is a plausible bridge to the gap being caused by the differences between traditional and new media formats.
Cook, T. E. 2006. Freeing the Presses: The First Amendment in Action. LSU Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Davis, R. & Owen, D. 1998. New Media and American Politics. Oxford University Press, New York.
Farley, T. 2008, The Cell-Phone Revolution, American Heritage, retrieved 16 October 2008, < http://www.americanheritage.com/events/articles/web/20070110-cell-phone-att-mobile-phone-motorola-federal-communications-commission-cdma-tdma-gsm.shtml>.
Gralla, P. Ishida, S. Reimer, M. & Adams, S. 1998. How the Internet Works. Que Publishing, London.
What are Types of New Media, 2004, Warrior Media Organization, retrieved 16 October 2008, < http://warriormedia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10&Itemid=25>.