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What is new media? Definitions, examples and careers

At a glance

  • New media — often known as multimedia or digital media — relies on digital means to communicate, as opposed to traditional media like print newspapers or television.
  • New media technologies include blogs, videos, websites and internet ads.
  • Employment in management professions, a field that includes jobs like marketing, brand and project managers, is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate and a Bachelor of Science in Communication degree, both of which help prepare students for a marketing landscape dominated by new media. 

It’s no exaggeration that the digital age has transformed how businesses and creatives connect with their audience. While print newspapers and TV ads can still facilitate this connection, new technologies present new opportunities. Social media, for example, allows users to form personal connections with businesses and brands that the one-way nature of print newspapers and TV ads preclude.

Print newspapers, TV ads, billboards — these are known as traditional media. They don’t rely on digital technology to connect with an audience.

New media, on the other hand, refers to platforms that depend on digital technology to communicate with an audience. In today’s nomenclature, new media can also often be referred to as digital media or multimedia. 

What is new media?

You’ve probably run across examples of new media many times. In fact, the blog you’re reading right now is an example of new media.

New media technologies might be social media, virtual worlds or other web-based offerings, including:

  • Podcasts
  • Websites
  • Internet ads
  • YouTube videos

The main difference between traditional media and new media is new media’s capacity to be stored, presented and distributed over telecommunications networks.

Not all new media is the same, of course, but commonalities exist, such as: 

1. Communication

New media technologies attempt to communicate with an audience, whether it be general or specific.

Example: An internet ad tries to convey the benefits of a new product. 

2. Collaboration

New media can allow users to comment, contribute and otherwise interact with pieces of media.

Example: A public encyclopedia that can be edited by users.

3. Creativity

New media allows individuals to use the technology in their own specific ways.

Example: A YouTube creator can devote hours to develop eye-popping graphics for their videos.

4. Community

New media technologies let people connect with each other around common interests.

Example: A social-networking site that brings likeminded individuals together.

5. Convergence

New media represents the coming together of several different technologies.

Example: A smartphone combines a variety of digital media into one device, including newspapers, music, TV, radio, cameras and computers. 

New media examples

Here are some examples of new media that you’ve probably seen before.

1. Website

One of the most common examples of new media technologies, a website can help a business connect with customers by allowing them to learn more about the business, make an order or browse products. Having a website can also be a huge boost to brand identity!

2. YouTube series

There’s a reason this platform is so popular. YouTube allows creatives and businesses alike to produce and publish content geared toward a targeted interest while also inviting feedback from a larger community.  

3. An online video game

When players connect online to slay dragons or fight aliens, they are, in fact, interacting with new media. These games connect people in sometimes globe-spanning ways while encouraging them to interact, collaborate and communicate. 

New media careers

Like the sound of new media? Here are some interesting careers in the field.

Social media specialist

Overview: Social media specialists are responsible for a company’s public communication on social media platforms. This can include developing a general social media strategy as well as creating specific pieces of content.

National salary range: Public relations specialists, a category that includes social media specialists, earned between $35,350 and $118,210 per year in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in public relations, communication, business or a related field is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Advertising, promotions and marketing manager

Overview: These professionals work at advertising agencies or within the marketing department of companies and oversee and develop programs that help generate interest in a product or service.

National salary range: According the BLS, the salary range for this position in May 2020 was $68,940 to $208,000.

Education requirements: Most companies require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a business field, such as marketing, or in a similar field, like communication.

Job outlook: Employment is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Podcast producer

Overview: Producers oversee the development, production and distribution of podcasts. This can include selecting talent and scripts, setting a budget and overseeing technical aspects.

National salary range: Producers earned between $36,070 and $184,660 annually as of May 2020, according to BLS. (This range includes producers in a variety of fields, including in media outside of podcasts.)

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in film or cinema studies, communication technology, theater or arts, or nonprofit management is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 24% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Public relations specialist

Overview: PR specialists are tasked with managing a business’s image with the public. This may involve interacting with news media and developing media items to improve public perception.

National salary range: Public relations specialists earned between $35,350 and $118,210 per year as of May 2020, according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism or communication is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS.

Market research analyst

Overview: According to BLS, market research analysts study market conditions to help companies understand the products or services consumers want to help increase potential sales.

National salary range: The salary range for market research analysts in May 2020 was $35,380 to $127,410, according to BLS.

Education requirements: This job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field, like marketing or communication.  

Job outlook: BLS projects employment for this role to grow 22% from 2020 to 2030.  

Mobile application and software developer

Overview: Software developers are responsible for creating the computer applications that run the network and control the device to help meet users’ needs.

National salary range: According to BLS, the salary range for this profession in May 2020 was $65,210 to $170,100.

Education requirements: This profession typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology. Some employers require a master's degree.

Job outlook: Employment for mobile application and software developers is projected to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030. 

Copy editor

Overview: Copy editors oversee whatever a business publishes, from blog posts to press releases. This role can involve planning content, editing content for grammar and brand alignment, and approving final drafts of publications.

National salary range: In May 2020, editors earned between $33,620 and $126,800 per year, according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in English, communication, journalism or a related field is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment for editors is projected to grow 5% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Interested in working with words? An online English degree is great preparation! 

Content marketing specialist

Overview: Content marketing specialists plan, create and manage media content for digital marketing campaigns.

National salary range: In May 2020, marketing managers earned between $74,620 and $208,000 per year, according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment for marketing managers is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Graphic designer

Overview: Graphic designers develop visual concepts for businesses. This can include things like logos or illustrations, as well as the visual layout of digital and print media. 

National salary range: In May, 2020, graphic designers earned between $31,720 and $93,440, according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is typically required.

Job outlook: Employment for graphic designers is projected to grow 3% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

New media skills

Whether you’re just starting your career in new media or contemplating a career switch, here are a few skills that are worth honing. 

Analytics

We live in a data-driven world. It’s not enough to put out high-quality, eye-catching content if you don’t know how many eyes you’re catching. Analytics provide a path toward a better understanding of your audience and media strategy development.

Nearly every new media technology provides opportunities for data analytics. Google Analytics, for example, is commonly used to monitor traffic to a website. Social media platforms provide ample opportunity to analyze the performance of a post or an entire campaign. 

Marketing

When developing a new media strategy, understanding how audiences interact with new media is key. Some aspects of marketing strategy have remained the same for decades. Others have changed drastically.

Further, marketing skills can help you determine how to communicate with audiences across different new media technologies. Understanding the different types of digital marketing, and knowing how to effectively use them, is helpful in a new media career. 

Photo and video editing

When working in new media, creating and sharing content will likely form a significant part of the job. This content forms entertaining and engaging connections with an audience. Proficiency in photo and video editing software can help make this content even more engaging.

In fact, good content can be shared across different new media technologies. A YouTube video can find its way into a Facebook post. An ad on the sidebar can guide a user to a company’s website. Great photos and video can help users make that click and form that connection.

As commonplace as it now is, new media continues to evolve and change. And that means more opportunities for people to create more and meaningful connections. 

Degrees in new media

Does new media sound like an interesting career field for you? If you’re interested in getting started or learning more about how to incorporate new media in your current role, degree options are available to teach you the fundamentals and arm you with the necessary skills to pursue the above job roles.

University of Phoenix (UOPX) offers a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate that focuses on developing marketing strategies in the digital age to grab consumers’ attention. There’s an option to earn a Business Analytics Certificate to focus on the data side of business. The UOPX College of Business and Information Technology also offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication degree that teaches speech and writing skills for careers in public relations, copywriting and media relations.

You may also want to consider a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with an Advanced Software Developer Certificate for web development roles. The University also offers digital marketing courses in areas like social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). To see all the degree programs offered at University of Phoenix, visit phoenix.edu.