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

Is there Biz Model for Local News?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

donald-graham
The metro newspapers never really competed with each other. Sorry, there were companies that did compete with each other in certain markets, and that was always a hang up.
Donald Graham
julius-genachowski
An example might be allowing radio stations and newspapers to combine and see if there could be efficiencies that could help local newspapers succeed.
Julius Genachowski
arthur-sulzberger
What we’ve learned about our reach is just it’s not about hyperlocal for The New York Times.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

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News Industry's Reaction Speed

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Hedshot Quittner
We watched it, everybody saw it happening and the people who were covering it would go to their bosses and say, “We’re screwed. We’re not doing this correctly.”.
Josh Quittner
Hedshot Levy
They would bring in people like me to basically say the same thing their people in the trenches were saying. They wouldn’t listen to those people. They had some people that knew what was going on, but they wouldn’t listen.
Steven Levy
Hedshot Swisher
They put people in charge who were actively hostile to it. They didn’t like it. “When will this Internet thing go away?”.
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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Time
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Other
Gender
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Began Covering Tech
Before 1990 (inclusive)
After 1990
News Industry – Biz Side or Edit
Business
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Volume
Vol 1: CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters
Vol 2: Tech Journalists
Hedshot Dvorak
marty-baron
merrill-brown
rob-grimshaw
steve-newhouse
andrew-sullivan
david-bradley
arianna-huffington
chris-schroeder
nick-denton
Hedshot Gillmor
doc-searls
gordon-crovitz
Hedshot Markoff
P1260656
john-harris
Hedshot Dyson
julius-genachowski
Update Branscum Hedshot
eric-schmidt
tim-armstrong
Hedshot Levy
matt-mullenweg
Hedshot Pogue
gerald-levin
alan-spoon
scott-kurnit
Hedshot Michelle Quinn
Update Bell Headshot
Hedshot Bray
Hedshot Swisher
Hedshot Richards
art-kern
clay-christensen
ted-leonsis
hedshot Elmer-Dewitt
Larry Kramer
Justin Smith
mike-moritz
scott-woelfel
chloe-sladden
hedshot Meeks
jeff-jarvis
donald-graham
will-hearst
richard-gingras
jonah-peretti
Hedshot Caruso
dick-costolo
tim-berners-lee
michael-kinsley
interview_still
arthur-sulzberger
Hedshot Quittner
Will India Meet Global Expectations?:
michael-sippey
Hedshot Mossberg
Hedshot Angwin
steve-case
POLITICO Executive Editor Jim VandeHei. John Shinkle/Politico
krishna-bharat
dave-winer
lewis-dvorkin
Hedshot Schlender
roger-fidler
om-malik
john-battelle
ken-richieri
8255KR01
martin-nisenholtz
harry-motro
henry-blodget
bob-november
chris-cox
Hedshot Fallows
nick-negroponte
betsy-morgan
walter-isaacson
Mike-Perlis1
caroline-little
david-graves

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