Is media always the plural of medium? If it were only that simple.

But you don’t need a medium to ask the now-dead person who invented these rules. We just need to remember a few simple definitions:

Media (mass communications): newspapers, radio, TV, internet, etc. 

  • Often we use media as a mass noun that takes a singular verb. Example: The media is outside waiting for you to make a statement.
  • But it is also correct to use it in plural form. Example: The broadcast media are raking him over the coals.

Medium(s) (art): materials used to create a piece  
In art, you also can use both plural forms.

  • Singular example: What is your artist’s favorite medium with which to work?
  • Plural: Example 1: All the media for this project are important: paint, fabric, paper, canvas, iron and water. Example 2: We will work across all mediums to bring you a comprehensive marketing and advertising strategy.

Other common ways to use medium/media:

  • Medium (science): an intervening substance through which something is transmitted; plural is media.
  • Medium(s) (people): someone who communicates with the dead; plural is mediums.

—Sarah Muench