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Old Media vs. New Media



I began working for a traditional magazine publisher in 1985, the beginning of a long, tumultuous career in “old media”. As someone who started out old school, it’s been interesting watching old media dissolve and new media evolve. Unlike many of my old school contemporaries, I’ve been quick to embrace the new way. I dig the whole community vibe and easily digestible format. I love how news breaks almost immediately without the approval of editors or network heads and how everyone is quick with the analysis.

In case you haven’t been at this “media” thing as long as me, here are a few comparisons:

Old Media: Pay a freelance writer $1 per word to research, interview and write up an expert article. Publish and pay six months to a year later.

New Media: Pay freelance blogger $1 per post to Google and rewrite someone else’s researched, expert article. Publish and pay on the same day.


Old Media: News breaks. Sit on it for as long as possible in order to protect the guilty innocent. Make dozens of phone calls. Confirm sources. Check facts.

New Media: Post news immediately to blogs and Twitter. Deal with facts later.


Old Media: Letters to the Editor.

New Media: Comments, Tweets and retaliatory blog posts.


Old Media: Editorial meetings, calendars planned months in advance, red pens and final approvals.

New Media: Same day publishing.


Old Media: News only at certain times. Newspapers and magazines published only at certain times. Can’t learn new news until they’re good and ready to bring it to you.

New Media: All news, all the time.


Old Media: Editors and copy editors go over every word, correct typos and take out unnecessary verbiage.

New Media: Bloggers are called out in the comments for their typos.


Old Media: Advertisers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor a television show.

New Media: Free products for bloggers to review.


Old Media: Censorship

New Media: Bloggers and Twitterers make sure all sides of the story are exposed.


Old Media: Readers.

New Media: Community

Ok. So maybe there are a few exaggerations here, but there’s a whole lot of truth to it as well. To me, the biggest differences between new and old media are the time it takes to get the news to the people, and also, the ability of the people to receive the truth, instead of watered down, sponsored, “need to know basis” versions of the truth we’ve received in the past.

What differences do you see in new vs. old media?


  • TheWordWire

    I’m a veteran of traditional media as well, though my professional experience falls more on the advertising side than editorial. I’m a student of “new media” because it’s dramatically changing the industry. The biggest shift I’ve observed is in power. In everything from blogs, social networking, DVRs, online video on demand, etc., “new media” puts the consumer in control, not the traditional content provider. It’s fascinating stuff — thanks for an insightful post.

  • Kathryn Lang

    These are not THAT exaggerated ;).

    I think the biggest difference is the amount of information that is available ALL THE TIME! Those who want to take the time to find something out can find out it relatively easy.

    One of the biggest things that has stayed the same is the trust factor. It is still fascinating the number of people who believe everything that they read on the internet.

  • Dallas McPheeters

    More information has led to misinformed minds.

    Old Media: everyone talks about the same news from limited sources.
    New Media: everyone follows only the news sources they choose from among myriads available.

    What suffers is critical thinking skills since we don’t have to hear from the sides with whom we disagree.

  • Joel Annesley

    Yes it is certainly all about changing / removing the distinction between the journalist and the reader. We can now read, redistribute and create news almost all at once as part of the ‘community’. I wonder if new media will be like our current old media in 15 years time?

  • Andrew

    I too am a “veteran” of old school print media. Graduating school the hot buzz word was “email”. I was simply glad to have a b/w laser printer and a fax machine. There is something to be said, though, about using old school techniques with a new age twist. When dealing with networking and resumes, I’m still a firm believer (and I do hope I am not alone here) that although email and online CVs are great, I still love holding a physical business card. For what it’s worth, I found this site that worked beautifully in merging the two worlds:

    My 2 cents. Thanks for the great article and posts!


  • Hugo E. Martin

    That’s how old print vets circumscribe their disgust and unhappiness with the new media world, they don’t understand and certainly have not immigrated to.

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