Hybrid media system

The hybrid media system is a concept introduced by communication scholar Chadwick (2017) to highlight that different types of media not only co-exist, but form a system that evolves through mutual (inter)actions among older and newer media logics. Organizations, groups, and individuals in this system are linked by complex and ever-evolving relationships based on adaptation and interdependence. 

The hybrid media system

Chadwick introduced the concept to stress that the contemporary media is best understood as in 'transition'.  The hybrid media system as an ontological concept stresses the interconnection and interdependence of all relevant media and avoids dichtomous thinking about the media field. Radio, newspapers, television, websites, socal network sites, User generated platforms, blogs and search engines are all part of that media system. 

“The hybrid media system is built upon interactions among older and newer media logics in the reflexively connected social fields of media and politics.  Actors in this system are articulated by complex ever-evolving relationships based upon adaptation and interdependence and concentrations and diffusions of power. Actors create, tap, or steer information flows in ways that suit their goals and in ways that modify, enable, or disable the agency of others, across and between a range of older and newer media settings. “ (Chadwick, 2017: xi)

Hybridization avoids exclusively focusing on ‘supposedly “new” or supposedly “old” media, but instead maps where the distinctions between newer and older media matter and where those distinctions might be dissolving.’  (Chadwick, 2017: 4)

One concrete practice that is emblematic of that hybrid system is 'dual screening', 'the complex bundle of practices that involve integrating, and switching across and between, live broadcast media and social media'. (Vaccari, Chadwick, & O'Loughlin, 2015).


Chadwick, A. (2017). The hybrid media system. Politics and power. Oxford University Press. 

Vaccari, C. , Chadwick, A. and O'Loughlin, B. (2015), Dual Screening the Political: Media Events, Social Media, and Citizen Engagement. J Commun, 65: 1041-1061. doi:10.1111/jcom.12187