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

How Did Tech Platforms Affect News?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

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But it was clear that the Internet was coming.
Tony Ridder
chris-cox
Facebook just makes it easier for a good idea, or a great person who is influential, to get their ideas out in a matter of seconds or minutes or hours, rather than months or years.
Chris Cox
tim-armstrong
You can almost look across any device, any network, any handset content is starting to get mentioned. I believe we’re at the beginning of a content revolution in 2013, which will probably last, again, multi decade. The most important contents brands and content properties are going to be the most important things to consumers.
Tim Armstrong

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The Bug That Bit – Why Tech?

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Hedshot Markoff
I enjoyed hanging out with hobbyists. I was on the periphery.
John Markoff
Hedshot Michelle Quinn
A lucky break was that one of my colleagues at Berkeley, John Battelle, was a co-founder of Wired. He was starting Wired and was looking for people to freelance, so I was in the first issue of Wired.
Michelle Quinn
Hedshot Fallows
I realized I was typing the name Zbigniew Brzezinski about a thousand times both because I was mentioning him so often and because I was re-typing drafts. I thought there has to be a better way to do this.
James Fallows

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

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  
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