New Media

Recommended if… you wish to work on the cutting-edge of on-demand academic and/or public education, including working with technology to disseminate information and research. This involves creating or utilizing a digital product, such as a website or interactive application, either for your own research or to teach history through online distance education. While each job varies, you are likely to be working with new media development teams, the public, students, and educational institutions.

Requirements… There are entry-level positions that will suit those with a BA in History. Higher level positions will benefit from a graduate education, especially when creating original content based on historical study. It is beneficial to be well versed in the potential of new media which can be done by following developments in technology and education publications. Interdisciplinary interests can facilitate work on projects that span beyond history. Like most media jobs, many positions require relevant technical training and practical experience.

Introduction

Many of the careers outlined in Media & the Arts involve multimedia including journalism, film, online, exhibits, gaming, and print. This section focuses on a specific aspect of new media involving the dissemination of teaching and research through on-demand educational technologies. The major modes of new media involve digital interactivity such as online courses, educational software, or websites. Increasingly, these new media do not require the purchase of hard copy software as they are based through websites or downloadable content. More and more devices are being created that utilize applications (or “apps”) that provide creative interfaces to education and enlighten. The face of new media is dynamic and evolving, and thus the platforms in which education takes place are refined on an ongoing basis.

Applications of training in history

While there is no standard job description for working in new media, historians may commonly find themselves applying their skills in doing research, writing content, designing interfaces, promoting the value of interactive media, and working in public relations. Historians with a BA, MA, or PhD (together with experience that demonstrates proficiency in new media) have opportunities to work in this field. While many new media companies develop their own projects, they may be open to accepting proposals for projects in areas where you can demonstrate not only substantial interest, but a popular need. Having your own ideas drawn from your knowledge of history education will give you an edge in gaining employment in a new media company.

Types of work

Some of the more creative applications of the historian’s craft are mentioned in the section on creative history (for example, creating video games). Listed below are some possibilities in education-oriented aspects of new media. Some of this work may be similar to exhibition curating as exhibits usually have an online presence, or the materials may be available only online. What are some of the types of projects to which you can apply your skills as a historian? Among the career possibilities:

  • Designing online university- and college-level courses
  • Educational new media for different age groups, for example for primary or secondary students, or for people who have a specific historical interest
  • Websites or other interactive media for historical reference and educational purposes, as well as maintenance of an online presence and social media
  • Databases or online finding aids for archives, libraries, historical associations, and publishers
  • Reference interfaces, for example collections of journal articles, digitized materials, and images
  • Digitizing written and visual publications for distribution through mobile applications
  • Genealogy software that enables people to research their family history
  • New media that enables academic and/or amateur historians to make their craft more efficient, such as bibliographic referencing technologies, programs to maintain source collections and notes, or that enables teachers to create curricula
  • Technology for the collection of oral histories

Some starting points

Check out the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Based at George Mason University, it “has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past.” The American Historical Association’s publication Perspectives featured a special section on history and new media in 2009. You can also check out the array of history-oriented websites to get a sense of how history and new media converge online, for example:

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Do you have further insights on careers involving new media and history, or additional information that we can add here? If so, please contact us so we can refine this resource.