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

News Biz -- Entrepreneurs vs Traditionalists

Volume 1:
CEOs, Coders, News Execs, Disrupters

I created a website, my own website, called “Arianna Online,” and engaged with my readers.
Arianna Huffington
Mike Slade’s business was a digital content company that did multiple, different brands, including running ESPN with his joint venture with Disney, because Disney was trying to leverage their way into the digital space, just like TimeWarner was.
Harry Motro
Steve Newhouse is very much unsung as a visionary in news online. The thing that Steve taught me, more than anything else, that perhaps corrupted me as I went on, was the importance of community, the importance of providing the opportunity for the community to speak.
Jeff Jarvis

Explore more topics Vol. 1 

The Bug That Bit – Why Tech?

Volume 2:
Tech Journalists

I started writing about technology in Detroit because of the times. It was the moment when everything started to change.
Hiawatha Bray
After working for a few years as a crime reporter, I became a general assignment reporter. Hated that. Needed the specialization to get ahead.
Josh Quittner
I went to work at Osborne [computer’s user magazine]. About 15 minutes after I got there, they filed for Chapter 11.
Denise Caruso

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