Old versus New Media: An example of Apple versus FBI

by 11:30 AM 2 comments
Source of Image: http://cdn.theatlantic.com/
Hola, amigos.

Following up from our previous post about digital media consumption, our topic for today is also closely related to it - the transitions of usage from the traditional media to the new media, as the trend for digital usage nowadays has become a widespread phenomenon across the globe. But, first and foremost, here is a brief understanding of the old and new media.

In general, old media is equivalent to traditional media which specifically refers to printed media such as newspaper, limited by the topography and physical location; whereas new media is related to broadcasting media that includes television and radio that requires costly equipment in order to connect signals across the country, other regions or throughout the global (Alejandro, 2010). 

Traditional News versus Online News

John Pavlik (as cited in Trench & Quinn, 2003, p. 2) expressed a view that new journalism allows "news consumers to understand the meaning of the day's events in a personalized context that makes better sense to them than traditional media do". Besides that, new media provides a platform for journalism as it helps to create new virtual communities based on consensual interest without the restriction of spaces while offering new levels of reportorial depth, textual, and context that is impossible in any other medium. In other words, "new media can transform journalism" (Trench & Quinn, 2003, p. 2). Furthermore, along with the trend of new media consumption, the circulation of print media such as newspapers has been reducing in these past few years. For instance, in Malaysia, Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) has reported a declining trend of newspaper circulation from 2012 until the first half of 2014, with a drop of 14.2% for Bahasa Newspapers, 5.7% for English Newspapers and 19% for Chinese Newspapers (Netto, 2014). Despite experiencing a mild downfall in newspaper circulation, Salman et al. (2011) noted that mainstream media such as newspapers are still being relied on as the primary source that provides informative and essential reading material for the people. 

However, according to Trench and Quinn (2003), new media has created two overlapping significances. Firstly, the incident of individual encounter which is being openly discussed. Secondly, important events are being published as public information. Online news with both types of significance formed a distinctive group which is known as the virtual community that allows people to get together and thus maintain social cohesion in such a way that traditional media cannot achieve (Trench & Quinn, 2003). An example being online news as the sole media which provides channels of expression for personal anger, bias, and prejudice (Trench & Quinn, 2003). Moreover, new media creates a variety of public media such as "citizen journalism or independent blogosphere" (Alejandro, 2010, p. 7). Also, other new media such as forum encourages more discussion and debate for the related information (Alejandro, 2010). 

As such, the impact of new media has truly been influential in the overall media as Arianna Huffington, the co-founder, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post expressed that,
"I think we will see an explosion of news sites engaging their communities in editorial process. We'll see a great expansion of the ways citizen journalists will help drive the news: recommending stories. Technology has enabled millions of consumer to shift their focus from passive observation to active participation" (Papova, 2010).

Source of Image: http://yellowcabin.com/

Nowadays, everyone is likely to be a journalist who can freely participate in debate and discussion about real-life events or other issues. This would incite a proactive relationship between internet and journalism. Along with the need for journalism in the past to uncover the truth by indulging in the stories that they found, people can now be a journalist to communicate with, update and voice out their opinions using online platforms such as social media networks and blogs. In addition, the written content led by these online platforms thus brings up questioning sense on the objectivity of the news information being circulated - whether the news is presenting the truth of the issue or not.     

Despite being the truth or a distortion of messages, online journalism could be presented in a horizontal communication among peers or in vertical communication from the power holder to the public that exists especially in the traditional news (Trench & Quinn, 2003). Traditional media is usually being restricted by the institutionalized news criteria that favor a top-down approach in which authority decides the type of news being disseminated in the media and among the public (Trench & Quinn, 2003). Most of the online journalism revealed that the new form of journalism is against the thinking of vertical communication as compared with traditional journalism that usually practices and aims to promote horizontal journalism (Trench & Quinn, 2003).

To wrap it all, new media has indeed gone through a sophisticated transformation, extending from its original paper form outlook towards a paper-free technology, which opens up a platform for more netizens to voice out their opinions through online means such as blogging or posting comments under the available forum discussion below the online news. In short, the emergence of new technology for the new media does pose certain impact in our private sphere. 

When Print Media Meets New Media (using 'Apple Versus FBI' issue as a point of comparison)

iPhone 5C
Source of image: https://www.theguardian.com/
Apple versus FBI issue is a hot issue that is currently being discussed in the media world as Apple users worldwide are facing a risk that involves the disclosure of  their personal usage on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets as well as laptops. The gist of this news is that local law enforcement in United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), demanded cooperation from Apple company to provide the code to unlock iPhone device's details which is needed to aid an investigation on a terrorist attack which has happened during December 2015 at San Bernardino, California, as FBI managed to get in hand on one of the terrorists' iPhone. However, in order to proceed their investigation, FBI needs the unlocking code to track down the terrorist's who may have other connections from people. (For more information, refer to this  blog link - Apple vs FBI)

Comparing both print and new media, they have both displayed some similarities and differences. Looking at the similarity aspect, they both act as a channel that reports news or information to the public as both Malaysia's New Straits Times and the blogs have reported and reviewed the debating issue of FBI versus the Apple company at the United States.

On the contrary, there is a mild difference between the presentations of these two media and the differences are listed as follows:-

1. The highlighting issue on whose point of view 
New Straits Times
Taking the example of 'Apple versus FBI' issue that is reported in Malaysia's New Straits Times, contents in this print media is being constructed institutionally. In other words, this means that it focuses on how FBI, being one of the institutions in a society, tries to get in hand on the code to unlock iPhone device from the Apple corporation in order to track down a terrorist's iPhone 5C who killed and injured a few people with gunshots. The way the news has been reported is based on the FBI's point of view in reviewing the case, however, it is not the same as it was reported in blogsite. Bloggers and most probably Apple product users would argue that the FBI is being unreasonable to forcefully obtain the 'backdoor code' that may jeopardize all Apple users over the world if the code is exposed to a third party and this would lead to security risk experienced by the users.

2. The content of the news
Comparing the news reported in New Straits Times, the representation of newspapers and the similar news posted in the online news portal counterpart, the content of news presented in an online portal is sometimes much shorter compared to the printed version. Besides that, the contents are described with a simplistic tone so that readers are given the gist and would not feel strenuous to read it in particular times such as before going to work or even during leisure period. In the blogspot specifically, its contents are not as formal as printed version as it includes personal view expression about the issues with 'short yet catchy title' to attract attention from readers.  

New Straits Times
3. The style of presentation

Printed media has limited information and restricted freedom to discuss in comparison with online media. Online media possesses much interesting multi-media graphics and hyperlinks which can direct readers to other related material readings as well as widening their perspective's horizon.

Despite the difference in the presentation of the two medias , another question that arises is "What constitutes good and bad practice in online news?" In our opinion, Online news is applying good practice through the provision of extra information through compacted hypertextual links which are available anywhere around the page. Hypertextual, as stated by Steve Paulussen (2004 as cited in Siapera, 2012), gives advantages for both reader and author as the effective use of a link is an essential part of good online news production because it enables journalists to include extensive background and elaborated information on the subject they are writing. Furthermore, it also allows readers to engage freely in the topic of discussion by posting comments and point of view on the subject.

However, online news also has certain bad sides of its practice. One of the bad practice in online news is the free circulation of any information in online media which concerns the credibility aspect of the contents. Looking from how the news is being reported in social media, the news does not necessarily reflect the truth about that matter as the news are circulated in a quick pace through sharing of posts among user accounts without knowing whether the sources provided can be trusted or not. In addition, the contents may be more seriously affected if the source of news is associated with the blog site and other non-established sources. This may lead to a questioning of the content's validity and causes confusion towards the real issue. The rise of social bookmarking engine also causes a shift on how online news should report information in the past because of the growing trend of personalization and customization of news consumption in the media, In other words, contents in the online media reporting news that suit readers' interest rather than reporting the real important issues. 

However so, our preference is still in line with the NEW coverage as w
ith the trend leaning towards new media usage, we would suggest that new media coverage is much better than traditional printed media as, firstly, it would save our time and money. Besides that, online-based media coverage does not cost us much money because we can read it anytime using smartphones and other electronic devices that allow WiFi connection. Furthermore, online users are just a click away from getting updated with any news around the globe. In comparison, print media is updated for a given period of time which could be either weekly or monthly. Secondly, new media enriches the flow of information with multi-media graphics such as short video clips and extra links for further information acquirement. As an advantage of using new media coverage, readers are able to read or subscribe to news instantaneously and comment freely on the discussed matter that could increase interpersonal communication with other people. However, one should always be concern about the information presented by any media, old or new. We should think critically without believing it entirely on one source but also comparing with other media in order to get a whole picture of an issue. 

On the other hand, which would you recommend? The Old Media or the New Media? Please comment on the section below. 


Alejandro, J. (2010). Journalism in the age of social media. Retrieved from:
Netto, A. N. (2014). Circulation of NST, BH, Utusan drops. Retrieved from
Popova, M. (2010). The big question: New media’s effect on journalism. Retrieved from
Salman, A., Ibrahim, F., Hj.Abdullah, M. Y., Mustaffa, N., & Mahbob, M. H. (2011). The
impact of new media on traditional mainstream mass media, The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 16(3), 1-11.
Siapera, E. (2012). Understanding new media. California: Sage. Retrieved from:
Trench, B., & Quinn, G. (2003). Online news and changing models of journalism. Irish

Communications Review, 9, 1-11.


Life-long Learner

A group of ten Ansos students, comprising of Vivian, Ching, Steph, Mun Yee, Pik Lam, Siti, Joanna, Ludiah, Hidayat and Ardillah blogging about communication and technology, striving for an A in this course and having a snack while we are at it :)


  1. It is very interesting. You let me understand the difference point of view of journalism that come from different medium.

  2. I personally prefer the old media instead, because the hold in the hand is better for the eye as how it is presented as a hard copy. However, content-wise, I think that new media is better as it offers diverse point of views for us to ponder and reflect upon.