“Riptide” and the history of digital disruption

We’ll spend a few minutes at the beginning of class today taking a look at “Riptide,” a project put together by two Harvard institutions — the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, which provided the content, and the Nieman Journalism Lab, which handled the design and Web hosting.

“Riptide” is an oral history that tells the story of how the news business was disrupted by digital technology. There are 61 interviews on the site. If you tried to read everything, it would come to more than 400,000 words.

“Riptide” is not without its critics. A number of observers have pointed out that the project is heavily tilted toward white men. Rachel Sklar wrote a scorching piece on Medium comparing “Riptide” to more juvenile online antics, arguing that they are emblematic of attitudes in the tech world. And Meg Heckman suggests five women who should have been included among the interview subjects.


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