A massive oral history of the digital disruption of legacy journalism models,released Sunday, contends that big news companies made early, repeated and well-funded attempts to adapt to the digital era but have been overwhelmed by bigger forces.

The work, titled “Riptide,” is likely to be controversial. Its authors — John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz and Paul Sagan — did the study as Shorenstein fellows at Harvard and have published it on the Nieman Journalism Lab site. They interviewed a group of 60 people, noticeably lacking in diversity.

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