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Two aspects of the new media are seemingly entirely new. The first is community contribution news sources such as AssociatedContent.com. In old media, professionals were privileged to find, distill and disseminate the news. Now, the public themselves can contribute to the finding, distilling and disseminating. The second is the emergence of open access peer reviewed journal publishing. In old media, research was either accepted for journal publication or not. This left room for professional bias and preferential treatment. With open access publishing, the only barrier to getting your research published--and read--is the fee.
I think the goal is the same whether we are considering old media or new media: gathering information and procuring amusement. Considering those general goals, all new media is the same. It's the WAY that info and amusement are projected that differs. I'm just imagining my mom as a toddler watching "It's Howdy Doody Time" vs. a preschooler playing the bubble-popping game on mom's smartphone. Both entertainment, two different forms. I'm imagining adults being floored by the farce of an invasion from space voiced by Orson Wells over the radio vs. reading about fake news on the website called "The Onion" or even "News Update" on Saturday Night Live. I'm imagining my grandfather reading the front page of the newspaper over his morning coffee vs. me pulling up my Yahoo homepage and checking the latest headlines. I'm imagining my mother putting in an eight-track tape vs. me choosing the "random" feature on my ipod. It seems that what has evolved, so-to-speak, is humanity's ability to "toggle" between features quickly. With the goals of new/old media being the same, ... the new aspect becomes our ability to switch between news and entertainment quickly, in fact, at the drop of a hat. This, I'm afraid, is not always a good thing. Just watch Disney's Wall-E and see.
New media is certainly different on a rand scale compared to old media. But I think calling these new forms of communication "media" is using the term loosely. While it is a way in which communication is fostered, while Twitter and the internet, social media sites and cellphones have made communication in many, many situations infinitely easier, there is a distinct difference between "communication" and "media". The old media was a source of information, and at least by the mid-20th century had developed some journalistic standards for ethics and accuracy.
The new media has some of this too, but it is much more difficult to find, and is vastly outnumbered by the dreck of blogs, tabloids, and personalities.
I think that the "new media" is quite new. I think it resembles older media in the consumption aspect, but overall, there has not been anything quite like it. The paradigm of a globalized and digital world has helped to transform the "new media" into something that might be similar to other information revolutions, but not to this level. The democratization of media in so many different areas has transformed how media is viewed. On demand content being so easily accessible, file sharing, and the digitalizing of media are truly different than had been experienced. The "new media" has caused a transformation in how media is produced. For example, music distribution has been forever impacted by the web. Music is disseminated virally, with videos posted on YouTube, and the use of Twitter and Facebook mediums to communicate with fans. The fact that concerts can be streamed and so much about a particular music group happens virtually is different than anything before. I think that this is one way in which new media has created an impact the likes of which has not been seen before. I would also suggest that the "new media" has also impacted "the news media." The emergence of 24 hour news networks, social networking of news, and the blogosphere have all created a setting where traditionla means of news coverage have become obsolete. Newspapers declaring bankruptcy at an alarming rate and the standard and practices of journalistic ethics being rewritten on an almost hourly basis is reflective of how the "new media" is new in the realm of the "news media."
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