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 have basically two different types of advertising that we’re selling now.
Henry Blodget
I think the innovator’s dilemma was very real, but I think it went beyond the innovator’s dilemma. You mentioned church and state. It wasn’t just a radical transformation.
Kathy Yates
The Internet has tilted the scales in the advertising community towards ROI because you actually can, in so many instances, see the return on investment that you get.
Lewis DVorkin

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Career Entry Points

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

My first jobs were in agriculture, which was great, then with a magazine that was no longer around, Big Farm Weekly. Not pig farms, big farms.
Emily Bell
He said, “Oh, you mouthy, come down and tell me this to my face.” I did. I took the bus. I think it was the M15 bus, down to 15th and L with the M-something bus. Anyway, I took it down there, we had an argument and he hired me to be a stringer for Georgetown.
Kara Swisher
I was completely a journalism junkie and when I was about nine years old I started a neighborhood magazine.
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