While the book has a traditional text component, it also incorporates video, audio, images, hyperlinks, and other features of new media to illustrate, instruct, and explain the rhetorical and design principles throughout. The New Media Writer demonstrates and models the same kinds of electrate texts it asks students to create.


The New Media Writer takes the traditional rhetorical triangle and expands it into the rhetorical tetrahedron, illustrating not only logos, pathos, ethos, and kairos (or writer/reader/text) among its points and surfaces but also design, genre, and medium.


To make learning these design principles more concrete, each principle is illustrated using examples from multiple genres, allowing students to learn each design principle while first examining and ultimately constructing an electrate text.


In addition to traditional classroom and workplace genres, The New Media Writer includes assignments from extracurricular environments and service-learning assignments that provide specific, localized exigencies for writing.

The Rhetorical Tetrahedron

Making Connections


Chapter 1 provides some of the background you’ll need as you progress through the text. Ultimately, no matter which specific outputs you make, all of these assignments will require you to make a variety of connections between different parts of images, between text and image, between image and environment, and between different kinds of media. The rest of the chapter descriptions appear below.


Visual Rhetoric


While new media has its own kind of rhetoric, many traditional rhetorical techniques can still be useful when reading and writing in images. This chapter will provide an overview of some basics of classical and modern rhetoric, but will repurpose their concepts for use in the rest of the text. As just one example, this chapter will go into more detail about the rhetorical triangle, and how these become more useful as the rhetorical tetrahedron. The chapter will cover the rhetorical appeals of logos, pathos, ethos, and kairos, and will examine and illustrate each appeal using both print and image-based examples. While you may have learned these terms in other writing classes, this chapter will both refresh your memory and refresh your understanding within a visual context.


Reading Visual Arguments


An understanding of how to “read” or view other images in a rhetorical context can help make you a better designer and producer of new media texts. Chapter 3 will look at a variety of different kinds of new media texts and provide tools for how to approach their analysis, looking for the argumentative features in each. While the chapter is not an exhaustive rehearsal of all the possible readings an image may have, it will help you think rhetorically about different kinds of arguments based in visual media.


Media Convergence


One definition of media convergence describes the way that multiple forms of media converge into one another, so that what you see on television converges with what you see on the Web, and vice versa. While this is certainly one aspect of media convergence, the practices of producing media also converge. This chapter will look at these practices—specifically, rhetorical practices—that most visual media share in one way or another. This chapter moves away from forms of traditional modes of rhetoric covered in chapter 2 and focuses specifically on rhetorical techniques that appear in new media texts that diminish (though do not eliminate) the reliance on alphabetic text.


Scouting Media Environments & Ecologies


Before filming a movie, the director or assistant directors will usually scout locations where filming might take place. The director does not only look for the places themselves for scenery, but also the overall logistics that a location can offer, such as proximity to lodging, food, casting extras, and other elements. When writing in the visual, you must often consider the entire environment in which a visual will appear. Using this film practice of scouting as a metaphor, this chapter asks you to consider the “scene” of writing as a larger environment, or what Lloyd Bitzer terms the “Rhetorical Situation.” When a media composition is placed at a location with other media, then these media create relationships that may not be advantageous to your argument. This chapter will help you begin to consider these variables and use them to maximize your rhetorical effectiveness.


Screening Audiences & Actors


Most of the decisions you make when writing will revolve around your understanding of what your audience wants, expects, likes, dislikes, and will find persuasive. Determining these preferences requires a careful analysis of your audience, and you must screen them before writing. However, especially with new media texts, audiences can also be actors who interact with your texts. Moreover, the ultimate goal of any rhetorical communication is to get your audience to act (or not act) in a particular way. However, in new media, your audience may not even be human, such as search engine robots that scour the web on behalf of search engines such as Google or Bing. This chapter will offer instruction on how to research and analyze your multiple audiences, and how to design different media to maximize their activity during and after engaging with new media.


Pre-Production (Research)


While you’ve probably conducted research to write a paper for another composition class, other kinds of research are often necessary when composing a piece of new media. In addition to reviewing traditional research methods, this chapter will explain some other research practices you’ll need to consider in the pre-production phase of your writing. This research might include investigating the history of a particular visual element you want to include in a design, the best software to complete a particular effect, or who holds the copyright on a piece of media you want to integrate into a video project. This chapter will cover some basics for you to consider before fully launching into design and production.


Story Development (Argument)


Even though you’ll be working with images, video, sound, and delivery technologies other than a traditional word processor, these media can still be used to craft arguments that most writers usually associate with traditional essays. However, such arguments don’t need to be explicit but can be crafted in a way so that their arguments are implicit within a narrative and not overtly stated. This chapter will analyze both kinds of arguments as they occur in visual media, and discuss the strategies for crafting an argument within a visual discourse.


Scripts (Writing)


While much of your projects in this book will involve final outputs in new media, you’ll still need to do a lot of alphabetic writing during the planning, research, and revising process. Such writing comes in a variety of forms, such as outlines, scripts, camera directions, and collaboration materials to help you communicate with other students you might be working with. This chapter covers the writing necessary to produce the new media artifacts presented in this text, writing that may range from a traditional research report, a simple timeline, a list of equipment, or other written documents that help you finish a project. Writing in words has always been an important tool to write in images, and this chapter will cover the ways that traditional writing can transfer to final outputs which may not even contain words.




This chapter covers all of the design techniques that you’ll need to complete your visuals, including basic strategies concerning color and typography, as well as how to achieve perspective and variety. While this chapter will cover “how” to implement these design practices into your compositions, it will also explain “why,” that is, the rhetorical impact that a particular design element will have and how such an element might further your rhetorical goals for making a visual composition in the first place.




One of the most important parts in the process of any piece of writing is the step of editing and revising. This chapter will cover techniques that will help during the revising process for image and video, as well as traditional writing, since all of these media are intertwined during the production process. While new media require their own set of specific practices when revising, some basic underlying principles govern all types of revision, and here you’ll learn both.




The Greek orator Demosthenes once claimed that delivery was the most important aspect of rhetoric. How you say something can be as important as what you say, and this chapter explains different considerations for how to deliver your new media productions, whether it be as simple as where to post a flyer in the community, different places to upload videos for particular audiences, or even something as complex as Search Engine Optimization for blogs so that audiences can more easily find them.


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