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 Has Social Media Affected News?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

In a sense, the strategy of the Atlantic.com these last couple of years, first we had the voices, the bloggers, led by Andrew. The second strategy was actually to have these individual journalists who manage sections of the site who themselves are what we call native digital journalists who have such intuitive sense of the web and of how to create sharable content. They have the metabolism. They have the social network themselves which they’re constantly seeding and a part of on Twitter and so on.
Justin Smith
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
We have editors who want to create products that the link tears asunder. That alone is difficult. But all the same reasons.
Jeff Jarvis

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Career Entry Points

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Somewhere around, I would say, the end of the anti-war movement, I picked my head up and realized everyone else had left.
John Markoff
“You do not want to be a professor. Don’t be a professor. This is talk about a dead-end career.”.
Brent Schlender
My main interest originally is I wanted to be a rock critic where I’d write about music. I was interested in sports and other kinds of stuff.
Steven Levy

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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Volume
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