Text-to-Text Remediation

Instead of remediating a print text into a visual or audio text, you may choose to use a different genre within the print medium. For example, if your original text is a poem, you might want to remediate that poem into song lyrics, a children’s book, a letter, or another print genre. Before you construct your text-to-text remediation, consider the following:

Capturing Content

Before you can create any type of effective or meaningful remediation, you should develop a good understanding of your original text. Your remediation, after all, is based on your decoding of the messages and meanings—the textual content—of your original text. You would be hard-pressed to effectively argue, for example, that Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a strongly worded argument against racial equality because even a basic understanding of King’s speech illustrates that he was making the opposite point. In other words, you want to be sure that you have accurately captured the central idea(s) in the original text. Moreover, in the creation of your text-based remediation, you should suggest ideas that are similar to the ideas in the original text—if, to continue the MLK Jr., example, you choose to remediate the text of that particular speech into song lyrics, then you should capture the meaning of that speech (equality and a brighter future for the next generation, perhaps) in the lyrics of your song.


Ask yourself the following question: What is the main purpose of the text’? If the original text is a poem that seems to advocate an anti-war message, you can surmise that the poem’s purpose is to capture a reader’s attention through attractive writing and to persuade the reader that war is to be avoided. There is a distinct connection between a text’s purpose and the medium in which it is presented: an opinion column in a newspaper is traditionally a type of text where serious issues are addressed with a central purpose of convincing others to agree with a particular point of view. In this way, medium and purpose are inextricably linked. As you analyze the text that you want to remediate, try to express the purpose of this text: Does it aim to entertain, to enrage, to convince, or cause reflection? And, more to the point, in what ways is that purpose reinforced or modified by the medium that the text uses?

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson.

Likewise, when you are creating your text-based remediation, think about how you want to manipulate the purpose of the text. A blog post in an online forum that urges people to stop the Iraq war could be remediated in a number of ways, but be mindful that the main purpose of that text is to persuade or convince—a purpose that demands a different rhetorical approach than a text which wishes only to entertain.  What this example illustrates, hopefully, is that purpose is inseparable from medium, audience, and rhetorical stance, and an awareness of purpose should be something which governs a writer’s remediation process.


An equally important consideration in the construction of a text-to-text remediation is identifying the possible audiences of both the original text and the remediation. Subtle changes in the delivery method of text—poem, newspaper article, Twitter post—will appeal to very different audiences. This point is very important and plays a major role in the creation of your remediation. An understanding of the characteristics of your audience will help you to identify the tone, word choice, and voice you’ll adopt as you remediate the text.

An example might make this point clearer: let’s say you remediate a newspaper article about gun control into a series of tweets. You, as a sharp and engaged student, realize these two text-based media have decidedly different target audiences: a newspaper article has an older, perhaps less technologically savvy audience, while the Twitter page is aimed at a younger, more technologically comfortable audience. This difference in target audience must play a large role in your rhetorical stance—word choice, phrasing and voice— so you choose to adopt in your remediation.

Newspaper article phrase:

  • “The decline of the quality of some high schools has people concerned”

Twitter post:

  • “High School = brain death + pep rallies?”

You might notice how different the rhetorical approaches are in these two text phrases (different word choice, different tone, etc.); however, the fundamental idea or message has remained largely unchanged. Moreover, the likely audience for a Twitter post is altogether different than that of a newspaper article. The rhetorical stance used in the Twitter post, of course, reflects this difference.

We instinctively know how to speak or write in vastly different ways when addressing various audiences; you would, for example, hardly address your first-year composition instructor in the same way you would your roommate. Something similar is at work when you compose your remediation: you need to identify the expected audience for your text-based remediation and allow your audience’s expectations to dictate the way you go about creating the new version of the text.

A text-to-text remediation requires a more subtle and analytical approach than a visual remediation or a multimodal remediation because the former involves only small changes in medium.  It’s important to carefully consider the original text and your subsequent remediation through a thorough analysis of meaning, target audience, purpose, and the way in which rhetorical stance is affected by all three of these concerns. To be an effective writer, you should know that huge changes in medium need not be the only way in which a text’s meaning can be significantly altered; instead, a text-based remediation draws its creative significance from tinkering with textual content, targeting new audiences, and recalibrating the original text’s purpose.