An oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, 1980 to the present

A project of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

An oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present

Unbundling and its Costs

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

interview_still
The role of the publisher, let’s face it, is to aggregate packages of content around their target audience’s interests.
Kathy Yates
jeff-jarvis
We have editors who want to create products that the link tears asunder. That alone is difficult. But all the same reasons.
Jeff Jarvis
chris-schroeder
We spent so many fucking…so much time wrestling with what our home page looked like and who’s going to be on the home page and everything else, and yet the data was always there, all throughout my tenure, that people want what they want when and how they want it and they’re going to find it on their terms and eventually share it.
Chris Schroeder

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Challenges – Wealth Creation Up Close

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Hedshot Levy
I knew the money was going to pour in. And what happens when the hackers get rich there? I grappled with that.
Steven Levy
Hedshot Fallows
My theory is if you’re in this line of work you’re not fundamentally motivated by money.
James Fallows
Hedshot Swisher
I don’t think you can get bought by a nice shrimp. Actually, they don’t throw that good a party. DC has better parties.
Kara Swisher

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The Big Picture

For most of the 20th century, any list of America’s wealthiest families would include quite a few publishers generally considered to be in the “news business”: the Hearsts, the Pulitzers, the Sulzbergers, the Grahams, the Chandlers, the Coxes, the Knights, the Ridders, the Luces, the Bancrofts — a tribute to the fabulous business model that once delivered the country its news. While many of those families remain wealthy today, their historic core businesses are in steep decline (or worse), and their position at the top of the wealth builders has long since been eclipsed by people with other names: Gates, Page and Brin and Schmidt, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Case, and Jobs — builders of digital platforms that, while not specifically targeted at the “news business,” have nonetheless severely disrupted it.

Keep reading Vol 1. 

The Tech Journalists

A transformative wave washed over the world economy this past quarter-century and technology journalists were its chroniclers and front-row witnesses. Many, among the twenty interviewed, say a catastrophic disruption of the news business was to be expected. But they feel their warnings went largely unheard within their workplaces, a contributing factor to the industry’s late and ineffectual counter-efforts. In contrast to pessimism about the future financial underpinnings of their business, they’re optimistic about the outlook for journalism as new tools, audiences and approaches emerge and evolve.

Keep reading Vol 2. 

Browse Interviews
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Industry
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Time
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Gender
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Began Covering Tech
Before 1990 (inclusive)
After 1990
News Industry – Biz Side or Edit
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Volume
Vol 1: CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters
Vol 2: Tech Journalists
tim-armstrong
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Hedshot Swisher
Hedshot Michelle Quinn
chloe-sladden
Hedshot Angwin
mike-moritz
jonah-peretti
julius-genachowski
will-hearst
dick-costolo
merrill-brown
david-graves
Will India Meet Global Expectations?:
gerald-levin
P1260656
Larry Kramer
matt-mullenweg
art-kern
steve-case
Hedshot Markoff
alan-spoon
ted-leonsis
tim-berners-lee
Hedshot Levy
betsy-morgan
dave-winer
steve-newhouse
michael-sippey
henry-blodget
scott-woelfel
arianna-huffington
rob-grimshaw
Update Branscum Hedshot
Hedshot Fallows
richard-gingras
Hedshot Gillmor
hedshot Elmer-Dewitt
gordon-crovitz
scott-kurnit
david-bradley
Hedshot Schlender
roger-fidler
chris-cox
Mike-Perlis1
donald-graham
ken-richieri
Hedshot Dvorak
marty-baron
walter-isaacson
chris-schroeder
krishna-bharat
Hedshot Bray
martin-nisenholtz
john-harris
bob-november
Justin Smith
Hedshot Pogue
caroline-little
Hedshot Richards
Update Bell Headshot
hedshot Meeks
harry-motro
michael-kinsley
john-battelle
Hedshot Mossberg
Hedshot Dyson
Hedshot Caruso
POLITICO Executive Editor Jim VandeHei. John Shinkle/Politico
andrew-sullivan
doc-searls
clay-christensen
nick-negroponte
Hedshot Quittner
om-malik
eric-schmidt
arthur-sulzberger
nick-denton
jeff-jarvis
lewis-dvorkin
8255KR01

Four veterans of digital journalism and media — John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz, Paul Sagan, and later John Geddes — interviewed dozens of people who played important roles in the intersection of media and technology — from CEOs to coders, journalists to disruptors.

Riptide is the result: more than 50 hours of video interviews and two narrative essays that trace the evolution of digital news from early experiments to today. It’s what really happened to the news business.

Read Vol. 1  
See interviews