by Naomi Hamer
Because media is in a moment of cultural transition, it is a quintessential keyword, its meaning “contested or conflicted” (Nel, Paul, and Christensen 2021). Traditionally, in children’s literature studies, media designates texts produced in forms other than print codices, thus subtly creating a hierarchical distinction between the nonliterary (media) and the literary. Yet since the early twentieth century, the term media has also been strongly associated with its definition as “the main channel for mass communication, as newspapers, radio, television, etc.; the reporters, journalists, etc., working for organizations engaged in such communication” (OED). This definition highlights the development of new technologies for mass communication, beginning with newspapers and other print media in the seventeenth century, radio and television in the twentieth century, and digital modes of communication into the twenty-first century. In response to those scholars who use this definition to elevate the literary above such allegedly nonliterary media, the fields of cultural studies, media studies, and digital media studies have reclaimed the term media to challenge the literary as a dominant cultural value, draw attention to the book as print media, and examine the audience cultures of engagement across channels of communication (Williams 1983b; Hall and du Gay 1996).