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

Google's Impact on the News Business

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

We did not think that kids at Stanford like Larry Page and Sergey Brin or Yahoo or whatever would create an ability to search the web well.
Walter Isaacson
So I felt that there’s got to be better way, a story first way, where you can actually find the story you care about and then very efficiently read the reporting, not just from the stories you trust and are familiar with, but also sources potentially you don’t trust or potentially sources that have the opposing view, or are closer to the story or are experts in the topic, right?
Krishna Bharat
I’m not sure I know. But let me say a couple things. First of all, on these and many topics, the EU and The United States are on completely different planets. In an analog world you can do that, but you can’t in a digital world.
Ken Richieri

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

The Bug That Bit – Why Tech?

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

I talked to a bunch of people who had been involved in the early computer industry who were very much hacker types. I felt the connection instantly to the ’60s when I went to college.
Steven Levy
There was a little team of people, who began covering this industry just as it started. I walked in right at the right time.
John Markoff
It was very lucky for me, because a couple years after that the Chicago Tribune bought the paper I was working for, expanded the business department, and suddenly my math and my journalism came together and I became a business reporter.
Evelyn Richards

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. 

Browse Interviews
Huffington Post
New York Times
San Jose Mercury News
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
East Coast
West Coast
Began Covering Tech
Before 1990 (inclusive)
After 1990
News Industry – Biz Side or Edit
Vol 1: CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters
Vol 2: Tech Journalists

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