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 Advertising Models Changed

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

We essentially came up with a new strategy chart, which showed on one side of it. We would basically have all the advertisers. In the middle, we’d have a Google system, and on the other side, we would actually be agnostic towards what type of ads and what type of revenue we took. Shooting to web…We launched the Google TV business, the radio business.
Tim Armstrong
People used to laugh at us 5, 10, 15 years ago when we said if you have valuable content, you own valuable content, you should charge for i.
Martin Sorrell
But I would offer two examples, in the United States of companies which were new, Politico and Huffington Post, which ultimately chose a free model.
Eric Schmidt

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Audience Ties – Snail Mail to Tweets

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

They didn’t consult the readers, “What would you like…?” The readers, to be fair, didn’t know what they wanted, either. One thing they did want is great content. That never has changed.
Kara Swisher
I can’t bring myself to think it’s a bad thing. I’m sorry. It’s a threat to my livelihood but is it overall a good thing for society? I would say yeah. Yeah, pretty much for the most part.
Hiawatha Bray
People identify, I think, too much with their gadgets. Maybe it’s because you invest a lot in it. You don’t want to be made a fool. Maybe it’s because they’re fashion statements now — the phone you carry, the tablet you carry.
David Pogue

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