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

Impact of Mobility on News Business

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

I mean Yahoo became an old media company within a few years. I take some consolation from that. So I don’t think any of us in traditional media companies did enough. On the other hand, we did quite a lot so if you think about the case of the Wall Street Journal, in retrospect the big question was not so much, “Can we do more digitally?” I think looking back the real question was did we do enough to create different revenue streams?”.
Gordon Crovitz
“I like what you’re printing out, but my step daughter says she would never read it on paper because the ink gets all over her clothing.
Michael Kinsley
If you count iPads and tablets, it’s probably a third of our traffic and growing faster than the desktop. That’s how you get there.
Larry Kramer

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Tech Journalism's Evolution

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

The amazing thing about writing about technology in the digital age is that it’s much more of a performance art that it ever was writing for magazines.
David Pogue
It was a different time where I was also young and so I would go out drinking with the same people I covered in a way that I had no access to with congressmen that I wrote about.
Julia Angwin
One of the reasons to work for the Wall Street Journal or Fortune is that we were considered to be a pipeline of information to the investing public.
Brent Schlender

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