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New Media FAQs

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A list of frequently asked questions about new media and the reasons to study it. (This list is currently under development.)

  • What do new media experts do?

    New media workers play an integral part in the development and design of content. Working on the cutting-edge of what’s new and exciting, they create an interactive mix of text, graphics, photography, video, animation and sound. New media experts advise managers, practitioners on the front lines, and participate in scholarly debates about the issues in the (emerging) field.

  • What does someone need to enter the field of new media production?

    There are few commonly-held skills necessary for certification in the field; in fact, there is no single certifying authority. People in the field hold degrees in Computer Science, in Human-Computer Interaction, in Design, in Communications and in English (usually with specializations in Professional or Technical Communication, though not always).

  • How are job prospects for new media developers?

    Excellent. The dot-com boom of the late 1990s led to the well-known crash of 2000-2001. However, the need for new media has continued, and careers for new media developers are relatively strong.

  • What do new media scholars study?

    Er. The answers to that question are varied. Take a look at the home pages of our members to see the wide range of topics we study.

  • Has the number of new media developers grown in the last 10 years?

    Yes, of course. The field has only matured into its modern form in the past decade.

  • How many members are there in the Studio for New Media?

    The number changes frequently, as more people formally join the Studio. Go to the Members Directory page to see the photographs and home pages for the students, faculty and staff who have formally joined the organization. Or just stop by the office on a weekday to see how many people spend time in the Studio.

  • How many people work as new media developers?

    According to informed sources, there are excellent positions for new media developers (Wall Street Journal 2005). Because of the vagaries of definition for the term, we've found no reliable figures for the number of positions in the U.S. in the field. But from the experience of our students, there is certainly opportunity in the field.

  • If I want to interview leaders in the new media profession for a newspaper or magazine article, whom do I contact?

    See our media contacts page.

  • What is the typical salary of new media producers? reports its findings that the average salary for multimedia developers as $58,000 (with a low salary of $48,000 and a high of $67,000). reports a range from $40,000 (graphic designer) to $75,000 (software developer), with an average of $53,500. And in 2004 the Society for Technical Communication reported average salaries of $55,810 for web designers, and $67,450 for usability specialists.

  • Who studies new media in Iowa?

    The answer depends on how you emphasize the words of this question.

    If you emphasize the word studies, then you may mean that many people today create new media – websites or DVDs, for example – but don't necessarily think about it. You should not underestimate, however, the extent to which faculty experts, by researching new media, help to lead the industry. If you stop by the offices or talk with our members, we think you'll be impressed by the wide range of research projects and research studies we undertake.

    If you emphasize new media, then you may not know the number of people who produce new media here. Central Iowa (the Ames and Des Moines area) has numerous businesses that develop instructional design software, commercial DVDs, and web-based content and knowledge management systems, and multimedia of all sorts.

    If you emphasize Iowa, you may have some unconsidered stereotypes that new media come only from the east or west coasts; we'd suggest that you rethink. Iowa is the fifth best state in the U.S. for e-commerce (Progressive Policy Institute 2002); it is the sixth best state for academic research and development dollars per capita (Milken Institute 2001). Fast Company (a magazine for the media savvy) rated Des Moines the hippest city in the U.S. (2003). And it is among the top ten in academic research and development (National Science Foundation/Division of Science Research Statistics 2003).

  • Well, then. How do I join?

    If you work or study on the Iowa State University campus, click the Join Us link and read more.

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