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

Blogging -- a Key Transition?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

I realized I could put my own ideas out there. When I did that, it was explosive. It was just wonderful to see what kind of response came back.
That was the beginning of blogs.
The idea of Newsblogger was that you would consume and write about the news at the same time. It was, actually, very much ahead of its time. It was something like what we’re doing now, in many ways. The act of reading and writing, in a truly interactive news environment, cannot be separated. They have been separated, but, they cannot be separated, not usefully separated.

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Aha! Moments

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

I couldn’t have thought that you would be able to have 25, 50 conversations in a two-minute time period with Twitter and be able to grab things real-time like that. I didn’t see that coming at all.
Brock Meeks
What costs a dollar cost a nickel in four years! This is a different kind of economic phenomenon than we’ve ever seen. Journalism beat that much basic economics into me that I understood and thought there’s something that’s going to happen here.
Brent Schlender
Finally, this guy from Google said, “Look. What’s happened here is we have listened to what audiences want and what advertisers want and we’ve made them fit together. You haven’t been listening. We have completely taken your lunch and eaten it.”.
Emily Bell

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