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There Are No Old Media

Journal of Communication

Published online on


Despite its ubiquity in scholarly and popular publications, relatively few attempts have been made to interrogate the meanings and implications of the notion of “old media.” This article discusses this notion in the context of theoretical debates within media and communication studies. Defining old media as artifacts, technologies, or in terms of their social use is problematic, because media constantly change, resisting clear‐cut definitions related to age. The article therefore proposes to treat new media as a relational concept: not an attribute characterizing media as such, but an element of how people perceive and imagine them. Rhetoric, everyday experience, and emotions are key contexts where new ground can be found to redefine the concept of “old media.”