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

betsy-morgan
Will the world continue to be bundled in the television space in cable or will it be unbundled? We’ve been able to play in both spaces and let the marketplace determine what’s going to happen.
Betsy Morgan
roger-fidler
That’s been the problem. Newspaper people are used to the idea that you’ve got to be able to make something successful.
Roger Fidler
richard-gingras
What they (the Huffington Post) have done and what one can do is they have basically sort of skimmed the very high level stuff and done it very, very cheaply with an aggregation model. So they’re able to get a lot of traffic and build a lot of uniques. It’s not clear how successful that model is, really, for generating significant amounts of revenue.
Richard Gingras

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Business Models for News?

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Hedshot Angwin
I wanted to go from environment of monetizing traffic to monetizing impact.
Julia Angwin
Hedshot Gillmor
“God, look at what we did. We gave it away for free online. We never did that before.” That’s absolute horseshit. The cost of the newspaper subscription or at the newsstand was a tiny fraction of the cost of business. We’ve been all but giving it away for 50 years or more.
Dan Gillmor
Update Branscum Hedshot
Here’s why they’re going to hell, because we’ve had a race to the bottom because journalism needs money and because tech people need.
Deborah Branscum

Explore more topics Vol. 2 

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. 

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

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