Out with the old, in with the new

In numerous essays today about media, many begin with the predictable and trite “In today’s digital age…”.

Old VS New Media

Indeed, we are living in an age where the proliferation of new media is taking over traditional media like the good ol’ radio and television.  New media is easily distributed and allows greater control among its users, as compared to old media where distribution is limited to the usual printed and broadcast media.

What used to be eons of time spent in front of the television is now converted to time spent online. Even existing TV shows are being viewed via YouTube or other downloadable video sites. With the ubiquity of new media products, we are becomingly increasingly connected, getting the latest news updates without having to flip a TV or radio channel. As a technogically unsavvy individual, I am like a fish out of water, born in the wrong era where the advent of new technology is taking the world by storm. Although I own a Blackberry, I am still clueless about its functions. Smartphones aren’t smart if the user isn’t, sad to say.

Just a few days ago, I spotted an advertisement in the TODAY paper about iTODAY on Blackberry. Many other publications like The Straits Times also have its services as an iphone application. These forms of new media are able to overcome barriers of time and accessibility. In light of the recent earthquake in Japan, throngs of people update themselves on the latest situation via their handphones. Not to forget, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are also various sources of information, which are also accessible through handheld devices.

In just a few days, Apple’s iPad 2 will be launched in Singapore. That is barely a year after the launch of its first iPad. Co-founder and Chief Executive, Steve Jobs, tells you more.

The speed at which technology develops is so quick that before one can decide on whether to buy the iPad, a newer version pops up. Functions aside, the iPad 2 is yet another electronic gadget for individuals on the go.

According to Marshall McLuhan’s (1967)  Media Determinism theory, the medium is more important than the message. He argues that ‘What’ we say is not as important as ‘How’ we deliver it. New media, through new technology, is the medium through which messages are delivered. More than before, the internet has the ability to change our experiences and affect the way we live our lives.   The widespread distribution of new media and technologies today are important tools that determine the news we receive as consumers. As such, old media are becoming mediums of messages that are losing their significance as technology continue to advance at a rapid rate.

It will only be a matter of time before traditional media will lose its foothold in today’s digital era. What do you have to say to that?


March 27, 2011. Uncategorized.


  1. Lina replied:

    Although new media is getting a larger portion of the pie in today’s modern context, I don’t think that traditional media will “lose its foothold in today’s digital era”. This is because old media like print publications (newspapers, magazines,etc) will always have their loyal supporters, especially among the older generation. Particularly in ageing populations like Singapore, traditional media will still be embraced by many.

  2. Valerie replied:

    You do have a point there! I guess both old and new media can coexist. But the older generation aside, it still remains a fact that more and more people are suscribing to new forms of technology as compared to the past when traditional media was more dominant.

  3. Elle replied:

    hey! i do agree with McLuhan that the medium is more important than the message. In today’s world, the medium have to be interesting enough to attract people in reading the message it wished to convey. In my case, i get news bites from google news which they gathered news all over the world and put it under one page. Isn’t it more convenient and efficient than searching among the traditional medium like newspapers? You get to select the category you’re interested too instead of rapid scanning of titles from every page. The new media is definitely a great medium as compared to print media.

    • Valerie replied:

      Hi there! It’s true that new media is a more convenient and definitely more efficient medium in terms of information transmission/retrieval. Particularly in terms of doing research, it would be insane having to flip through countless print publications for what you need!

      Having said that, even though the medium seems to be more important than the message, I do believe that the content is what draws people to both old media and/or new media in the first place. In my opinion, what is being delivered is as important as how it is being delivered.

  4. Shar replied:

    I agree that the type of medium is a very important avenue of transmitting information. In this time crunch society, everybody is looking for ways to do things in a faster, more convenient and more efficient way. The new media is developing at such a fast rate because it promises convenience and easy access. Through my smartphone, I’m definitely loving my news apps such as iToday and Straits Times as they deliver news in a concise and convenient manner. This new technology seeks to enable us! However, it might also be more crippling than we realize it is. I’m sure some of us can identify how helpless we feel when we do not have Internet access or when we forget to bring our phone out with us!

    • Valerie replied:

      Yes I can identify with that! There are definitely times where the development of new technology may seem to “fail” us, although it may not be the electronic gadget per se that’s at fault. Like what you mentioned about the lack of internet access, forgetting to bring your phone, etc. No one can argue regarding the benefits of technology in our lives today. But when such problems arise, will technology still benefit us? I suppose that’s when traditional media like the newspaper will come in handy (:

  5. Calean replied:

    I think new media is attractive because of its capacity to connect people and its interactive features. Besides, the amount of information that is accessible on the internet seem to be limitless!
    If technology advances to the point such that literally everyone has easy and cheap access to new media, or rather the internet, i wont be surprised if old forms of media will slowly disappear. As for now, new electronic devices, data plans etc are still quite costly. Cost is a big barrier in my opinion.

    • Valerie replied:

      I think you brought out an important point – Cost. People boast about the benefits of technology but ignore the crucial factor of cost that is preventing many from benefitting from such technology (like the ipad, for example). Therefore, even though new media is taking over the old, what pushes people to continue their support for traditional media could be the cost factor.

  6. heyhenrietta replied:

    Valerieeee. I honestly dont think traditional media will lose its foothold amid today’s ever advancing world of technology and gadgetry. The old fashioned print publications is still welcomed by many and will continue over the years i believe. Lots of people say that as long as such gadgetry and technology continues to advance, the traditional media will suffer. But think about it, having a newspaper and holding it in your hands, the feeling is different from reading it through an ipad or blackberry, and wouldnt you rather have that?


    • Valerie replied:

      Hey yes you do have a point! Let me rephrase. Perhaps traditional media will not lose its foothold, but rather, its significance is slowly being eroded by the rise of the new media. I do believe that there are people who still appreciate magazines and newspapers, but it is a fact that in a fast paced environment we are in today, people lack the luxury of time to peruse through a newspaper at their own leisure. Time saving techniques are key now, don’t you think?

  7. Jin Xiang replied:

    I for one am a firm supporter of new media. Sure traditional media is definitely going to have its diehards but it will evetually fade as the generations go. Consider how older social networking sites like friendster and MySpace have become virtually obsolete with the entry of Facebook. Consider how many people have ditched their old phones for iphones n blackberrys. We live in an age of “footloose” technologies in a sense that people will not hesitate to move on if something better comes along. Of course this cannot be applied for traditional media because they have such a strong foothold on our society established over the years, but I feel that even they will eventually (not anytime soon but eventually) be rendered obsolete. The question however, is when will the current new media become the traditional/old media?

  8. papaya replied:

    i think it will be rather sad and disappointing if traditional media starts to slowly disappear from our fast growing urban society in Singapore. maybe too fast for our own good. People are crazily chasing for new gadgets like Iphone 4 because it is like the coolest medium for transmitting messages, but sometimes i really wonder how many people are able to fully utilize all the new application in that smart phone.

    All the new applications tend to occupy the user with much precious time that may be done doing something more useful while trying to figure out on how to download more applications on to their smart phone and then how to use them. Technology that is suppose to help people to save more time seems to be taking up more time for certain people.

  9. papaya replied:

    In addition, I think that important heart felt messages should be written in a letter rather than just typing it out and sending it to the person who is going to receive it. I believe that the sentimental value will be totally different and the letter will be far more precious.

    Unfortunately people tend to go for the easy way in this urban society and forgot about the joy when a person receives a touching/encouraging letter. I guess there are good and bad in everything in life.

  10. Li Yin Low replied:

    Actually, I disagree. New media is gaining a foothold over traditional media in developed and some developing countries; however, for some developing nations and societies that do not have easy access to the Internet etc, traditional media such as newspapers would be their main source of information. The availability and accessibility of the Internet and other new media is not ubiquitous around the world as of yet. However, perhaps the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) venture will gain greater support and momentum in some parts of Africa and other developing nations around the world. This will accelerate the growth of usage of new media worldwide.

  11. Alex Ang replied:

    I’m also quite a stranger to IT’s latest gadgets. I never owned any apple product in my entire life, and I certainly don’t carry a blackberry. But I’m amazed that at the click of a mouse, I will be transported into the world of Facebook, MSN, Linkedin, Youtube etc !

    New media appears poised to drive out old media- but that will probably never occur. Syndicated production, as well as the financial clout of media giants, makes it impossible for a home made video to equal that of blockbusters like Supernatural and Heroes (1st season). Although I won’t be surprised if I see private remakes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Glee and OC- shows with low budget (or nonexistent) special effects.

    Lastly, I disagree with McLuhan that the medium is more important than the message; for a certain message to be propogated, it requires a specific medium. Hence a medium serves as a prerequisite to the delivery of a message, but it does not necessarily supersede the significance of the message itself.


  12. chloexiaowen replied:

    Like what Liyin mentioned, the digital divide still exists in today’s society and though we’d like to think of it differently, it is true that new media technology does not reach the masses as easily as it does. Radio, newspapers have always been a constant feed of information, and even now as there are plenty of apps and faster ways to obtain information, as long as traditional media learns to adapt, such as MediaCorp using Twitter to update its followers of recent happenings by the minute and leverage on these platforms, it is likely that there will be some form of balance between the two, each catering to their own specific group of users. As with the setting up of MediaCorp’s integrated newshub, the need for web, print and TV to complement one another and work together increases when users seek instant and such updated information.

  13. Ryan replied:

    Personally, I believe that traditional media, although not particularly popular amongst youths today, are not losing their foothold per se. Sure, there may be convenient and more interesting alternatives to reading newspaper, watching television and listening to CDs for example, some of these actions bring about a sense of nostalgia and reminisence for those who still appreciate these things. The rustic charm of a lazy morning spent flipping the newspaper and listening to a vinyl record, for example, cannot be substituted by browsing through a news website while streaming music from youtube, for example.

  14. Ona replied:

    I disagree that old media will loose it’s foothold.
    there are still newspapers being published around the world,this shows that there is still a need to write and print newspapers for the public to read. Furthermore, there are many magazines readily avaliable to read. Furthermore, there are those families who come from the poorer income family group. They too will not be afford to buy computers and laptops to read news articles so to cater to these income group families, the need for newspaper still shows that old media will not loose it’s foothold.

  15. Jael replied:

    Currently, the world is experiencing a massive change in how communication is being carried out. From Facebook to Twitter, and all other social media sites, people are starting to exchange talking for electronic communication. Therefore, I am not surprise that people are slowly moving towards the online world rather than the traditional way of getting information. Just like you mentioned in your post, even television programs can be viewed online via youtube or xinmsn. However, I disagree with Marshall McLuhan theory. The WAY we communicate is definitely far more important than the medium itself. Ultimately, if no one understand what you are typing/saying, you will still be unable to bring your message across to people even if you are given the best technology in this world.

  16. yingjie replied:

    Personally, I am not a tech-savvy person and with all the new media and technology that being introduced into the market, people are given more choices. However, i feel that now with the new media, i spent a lot of my time watching youtube videos and playing games on my smart phones rather than watching television with my family as compared in the past. I do see a risk of the new media becoming the primary channels that people turn to, to get informations. However, it may not be a bad change, as more information can be obtained from the virtual world, it will mean a decrease in printed media and it might actually be a good thing for the environment. For instance, less books being print out would mean less trees being cut down for making papers!:)

  17. Patrice replied:

    I do not agree that traditional media would take over the new media. Though there is a significant increase in the level of usage of the new media, the traditional media still has its place in society. Like what Ona mentioned, newspapers and magazines are still available, and it does not look like it is going to be replaced. The best way to make full use of media is to combine both forms of media together to reach out to the masses.

  18. Valerie replied:

    It appears that most people disagree with the notion that traditional media will lose its foothold in today’s digital era. Everyone has a point, but I still believe that such a trend is still very much possible in future. I’m not talking about anywhere in the near future, but years beyond our existence. The timeline cannot be determined, but given the speed at which technology is being developed, the significance of print publication may be eroded with the over reliance on new media.

    However, I do acknowledge that such a prediction is merely theoretical with no statistical basis.

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