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

Too Few Engineers in Sr Leadership?

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

I think at the time early in the growth of the digital world, it needed dedicated people who didn’t have tremendous responsibility for other mediums, and to have started Epicurious within the Gourmet organization or the Bon Appetit organization. It would have had a hard time getting the attention it deserved.
Steve Newhouse
When I started “Entertainment Weekly Magazine,” at Time Inc., back in ’90, we were seen as entrepreneurial because they moved us half a block away. That was the sum and total of the entrepreneurial spirit of the place, that we weren’t in the building.
Jeff Jarvis
We brought in engineers at Knight Ridder Digital. We actually did implement an engineering oriented culture. I should say, more than engineering, a software oriented culture.
Kathy Yates

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

Aha! Moments

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

Every single piece had a place. It all was this huge mosaic, so to speak, that had to come together before the Internet and these subsequent advances.
Evelyn Richards
You thought, “This is it.” We had literally seen the world change before our eyes. I do remember thinking, “This is the moment where everything changes.”.
Emily Bell
I’m like “That thing has no buttons and no keys. What is he thinking?” Man, they saw so far out that day when they showed the iPhone. That really has changed everything. I mean everything.
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. 

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Began Covering Tech
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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