Site map: Everything Riptide
There’s a lot to Riptide: a 50,000-word main essay, 61 interviews, over 460,000 words in transcripts. To make it all a bit more digestible, here’s an overview of all its pieces.
This essay, divided into an introduction and 15 chapters, ties together the most interesting elements of all of our interviews. It’s probably the first thing you should read. Here's a table of contents. And you can also download it all as a PDF.
Introduction: Setting the stage for an era of creative destruction in the news business.
Chapter 1: The Teletext/Videotex Era: When journalism companies invested heavily in early electronic consumer information services, and unalterably helped to set an industry on a collision course with the Internet.
Chapter 2: America Goes Online: While the established media giants were shutting down their costly early experiments with electronic distribution, a band of visionary online entrepreneurs were just getting started.
Chapter 3: The Big Bang: And then came the World Wide Web, which tore asunder traditional business models in news and information.
Chapter 4: The Original Sin: The story of free news on the web and why most news providers felt powerless to stop it.
Chapter 5: Then Came Cable: How the entrance by television news organizations into the battle for online audiences helped accelerate the shift in business models for news.
Chapter 6: The Return of Newspapers: By the mid 1990s, it looked like traditional media companies might be able to find a killer online business model that combined unfettered web distribution with successful advertising models.
Chapter 7: The Nerds and The Newsies: The culture clash between journalism and technology, and how a lack of engineering talent helped precipitate the decline of the traditional news business.
Chapter 8: The Innovator’s Dilemma: Traditional news providers may have viewed the web as a "sustaining innovation." But it was the newcomers who turned the Internet into an instrument of disruptive innovation.
Chapter 9: Birthing the Blogosphere: While most traditional media companies were using the web to push content to users, a new breed, known as bloggers, was experimenting with a more interactive, conversational model.
Chapter 10: The Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Later everyone recognized the dot-com boom as a bubble, but for a short period in the late 1990s it appeared that nearly every model would create successful business models for news online.
Chapter 11: From the Ashes: Amidst the wave of business destruction brought on by the dot-com bust, some of the most potent innovation bubbled up, setting the stage for major disruption in the industry.
Chapter 12: Google, The Second Coming: Google got off to an inconspicuous start in 1998 but would come to change everything, creating the world’s most powerful advertising platform.
Chapter 13: The Advertising Rollercoaster: Advertising budgets fluctuated wildly in the movement of from traditional outlets to the web, but the net effect was to swap dollars for dimes — a shift for which the industry has yet to find a financially satisfactory answer.
Chapter 14: Going Social and Paying to Play: As the Great Recession of 2008 hit the global economy, a new wave of innovation led by social networking, along with other new models for online communication and news, began to form.
Chapter 15: Time Will Tell: Where will the creative destruction in the news business take us? Several of our interview subjects look ahead to where the road may be leading.
Tech Beat: Reporters Covering the Digital Era Assess the News Business’s Struggle to Transform: Attendees at the annual PC Forum, Phoenix, Arizona, February 5-8, 1984. Among those pictured are, standing from left, Michele Preston, from L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin, Bill Gates, from Microsoft, and Esther Dyson, from Rosen Research/EDventure. (Photo by Ann E. Yow-Dyson/Getty Images)
The largest part of this site is taken up by the videos and transcripts of our 61 interviews. They range in length from 20 minutes to two hours, and they are an in-depth look at how one influential figure in the intersection of media and technology sees the changes of the past few decades. Take some time to explore.
We have begun to assemble a collection of key documents in the period we discuss: internal memos, key speeches, and the like. Check out the beginning of our document archive.
To put the period we discuss into context, here is a timeline of some of what we believe are the key events in the intersection of media and technology.
Aside from our main essay, we put occasional updates and supplementary material on our blog.