Overview Edit

Media is a way to communicate effectively through the use of print, film, images, sound, etc. With a rich history, beginning in simple forms of art, media has now become widely spread and an ever surrounding form of communication. The most recent and popular form of media is currently the Internet, but older versions of media such as newspapers and radio are still prevalent.

Definition Edit

The main means of mass communication (especially television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively (Oxford Dictionary). The term medium stems from the plural word, media. Medium is defined as "one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television."  

History Edit

The claims and ideas that currently surround media can be found in many historical echoes. New media often brings out overlooked histories in order to answer the question of where they stemmed from. It is important to acknowledge that ‘old’ media technologies were once new and held a great significance for their contemporaries for that same reason. Change and continuity is an important aspect of the media that is part of our life today.

The use of media has been apparent since the beginning of the human race. Media dates back to 30,000 years ago during the Upper Palaeolithic age. Cave paintings of Lascaux were the first to show the use of a medium to channel a story or idea. The beginning of oral communication, writing, printing, drawing, and painting led to the production and use of image and communication through new media in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These cave paintings appear to hold the seeds of the fax machine, the computer network, the communications of the satellite, the mobile phone, and various other sources. Around 487 BC en route to ancient Greece, we see the use of comedies, theatrical performances, and dramas to convey honor to the god Dionysus. In 1839, the invention of photography and image making led to the birth of new visual worlds and telematics culture. Moving through time, the virtual worlds of TV soap operas like I Love Lucy and Dallas arrive to tie together the use of film, photography, and entertainment.

Lascaux4b (1)

Examples Edit

Physical Media


Physical media

The oldest and constant form of media is the use of newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, and other printed material. Collectively, these publications and known as print media. Print media has various purposes that may change from culture to culture; however, a common use of print media is to report news or deliver important information to the general public. In addition, broadcast media are news reports that are broadcasted via radio and television. While the purpose of broadcast media is similar to print media, the way it is delivered is different. For example, Cable News Network (CNN) is a television channel that provides 24-hour news coverage throughout the United States. CNN informs viewers of major events, local weather (specific to a viewers location), sports updates, and local news. In addition, CNN has expanded to use online and radio mediums to provide news coverage to a different audience. On the other hand, The Daily Illini is an independent student newspaper that is specific to the University of Illinois and the students/residents of the Champaign-Urbana area. The Daily Illini provides the campus community with news coverage, sports coverage, crime alerts, and commentary/public opinion.

The Internet

A fairly newer and transforming media source is The Internet. In recent years, people are using online sources more often than any other source of media. One phenemenon that has developed is social media. Some social media websites such as, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. are used much more than traditional media outlets. The Internet and social media websites allow for an interactive approach within media by allowing people to share, create, or exchange information, ideas, pictures/videos, etc. Facebook, an online social networking service, has allowed users to share their opinion and tailor the news they receive. Facebook is also a form of media that allows for messaging between users and sharing pictures to their online "friends". Twitter is also a form of media that allows people to share pictures and quick sentences or thoughts. Snapchat is more of an interactive medium, which allows people to sends others temporary pictures of them or to send them temporary messages. Instagram is a form of media that allows people to post their pictures on social media for other Instagram users to follow them and potentially see.

Even the specific technologies supporting social media and the Internet also support the faster creation and remediation of media forms. Video and audio editing software has sped up the creation process for works that took years before. Photos can now be automatically and manually edited within seconds. Writing can now be faster typed, edited, posted, and critiqued from all corners of the world within a matter of hours. The creation and sharing of different media forms are now moving at lightening speed in comparison to previous decades. 


Infographic courtesy of Nielsen Holdings N.V.

Resources and Further Readings Edit

1. - This article provides the viewer on what Media is and analyzes the definition that pertains to the term "media".

2. [[1]] - This is a hyperlink to the official Wikipedia site on Media. It provides the numerous amounts of types of media and also provides the different areas where one can expect to find the term media being used.

3. - This website is intended to bring authors together and really help build their base towards writing; the author describes the six main types of social media used today.

4. - This site leads to a user submitted article on the role of media in today's society. It lists the five key components that media is in charge of and how it affects people's perspectives.

5. - This news article explores the different ways that media is unreliable, shallow and divisive, but how one must learn to love it and get used to it.

Keywords Edit

New Media, Social Media, Twitter, Blog, Film, Internet, Multimodality

Sources Edit