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

Is there Biz Model for Local News?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

I’m not quite sure yet how digital’s going to play out in the local market. You’re seeing individuals starting small local enterprises. They don’t generate a lot of revenue.
Roger Fidler
This idea of something for local, on local’s term, and Lord knows, the 500 attempts at hyper local that has really had a bear of a chance. Because I think that at the end of the day, it really boils down to that very basic question we talked about five times here, which is are you making somebody’s life really better?
Chris Schroeder
We’re now at 26, 27 countries with local language editions of the magazine.
Lewis DVorkin

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Predicting the Disruption of News

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

I always joke that I was totally right that social was going to be big. I was completely wrong about the social network that I picked.
Julia Angwin
There’s also another interesting thing about journalists which is there is real arrogance about what was going on. There was a real head-in-the-sand mentality.
Josh Quittner
I guess I am mostly positive even as the meteor is coming towards me, but I don’t know really why.
Michelle Quinn

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