A bundle of newspapers stacked up high.

Literacy and New Media Takeaways




Emily Contreras

In the case of literacy, it’s noticeable that it has changed due to the introduction of technology and new media. New media has transformed the content of the reading itself. It has changed the connection between reader and writer. New media has impacted the way we critically think and express ourselves.


We look back to the reading of J.D. Applen’s “Old Media, New Media, and Knowledge” specifically his section of New Media and Literacy. After reading the section of Applen’s writing I have gained important takeaways from the conversation.

Takeaway One

One of the important takeaways from this section is that new media allows for open interaction and unique customization. As Applen mentions, before the age of technology literacy came from physical hand-held books. These books were very open-ended with little to no interaction available with the readers themselves. Thus, this would make the readers feel that the writer’s work is transparent. Meaning, that the readers do not question the use of fonts, sizes, and lettering because traditional printing barely changes its formatting. Because of this lack of change and lack of outside media like pictures, videos, and art, readers do not see past the words they read. Readers question the wording, but barely question the formatting itself due to little interaction.

Literacy Text Changes

With the rise of new media and the quick transition from reading text to online text, this interaction has increased. This is because readers are now becoming more aware of the text itself and their ability to manipulate it. For instance, digital texts can be instantly changed with font and size. This can be through understanding the tools within the media and using them to the reader’s advantage. In hindsight, a user who wants to use New Media for literacy would inevitably gain digital literacy and digital rhetoric. If you want to learn more about digital literacy and digital rhetoric, check out my blog. Additionally, new media allows for easier self-publication. This allows writers to create unique ways to present their works without the restrictive rules of publication.

Literacy interaction

Also, unlike traditional books, blogs can be easily interacted with and updated by the writer instantly. This allows for an immediate change in the text, but it will not take away the wholeness of the text according to Applen. This is in contrast to traditional printing text where if a chapter is missing the information itself feels incomplete. An example of how new media achieves this is by the writers themselves, linking other articles. This seemingly provides an endless supply of information that is available to the reader through other articles. Those articles may even have links to even more articles to support their writings. For traditional books, this is not possible as information missing muddies the text.  Simple references in the back do not encourage readers to go find additional information as it’s not physically close to reach.

Second Takeaway

Another important takeaway with New Media and literacy is that it can keep different media included independent. Meaning, that media like videos, voice recordings, and GIFs are able to stay the media that they are while also being in digital texts. These media would have been reduced to still images or descriptive text if they were to be transferred to traditional printing. These media can be included in literacy which can improve upon the intent purpose of the writer’s text.

From personal experience, I can see how this is true as these different media can emphasize the importance of digital text. This can be a digital newsletter discussing the troubles of the world and providing video evidence to back up the claim of the journalist. It also provides a different way for the readers to gain that information which can be more inclusive to those with a disability such as dyslexia.


Overall, new media and literacy are interesting concepts to think about and explore their differences from old media. New media allows for easy access and interaction with the text itself. New media allows readers to recognize literature beyond the text and on the format itself.  It also allows for other media to be within the text itself while still being independent.


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