Media has always been a critical dimension of politics and of political violence. Information about violence and conflict is disseminated through the media. Media is also a mechanism through which the politics of violence is monitored, represented and interpreted. While the historical relationship between old media and political violence has long been the subject of research and debate, how this relationship is affected by the emergence of digital new media technology warrants further consideration. This development raises several important issues and questions for students of international relations, in particular with respect to how the reconfiguration of the role of media in conflict impacts more broadly on configurations of world politics. This article identifies four critical dimensions of world politics through which to explore this impact: the constitution of power, the configuration of agency, the nature and politics of representation, and the constitution of legitimacy. It argues that the concepts of power, agency, representation and legitimacy provide critical interfaces between media, conflict and world politics. In so doing, the article elucidates the conceptual framework that animates this special issue. Finally, it reflects on how these concepts are engaged in the articles to follow.