Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, Ph.D.
About the Author
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, Ph.D., is the author of "The TECHLASH and Tech Crisis Communication." She is a Former Research Fellow at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Her area of expertise is tech media: Having worked in tech PR and tech journalism, her research focuses on tech discourse, especially around emerging technologies.
Dr. Weiss-Blatt is a contributor to Techdirt and also published in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Big Think, and Tech Policy Press.
She was quoted in The Washington Post, WIRED, Forbes, VentureBeat, Engadget, Slate, Fast Company, The Independent, and Le Monde.
The Techlash Book
"The TECHLASH and Tech Crisis Communication" book is about Tech Journalism and Tech PR.
It Tells the "Inside Story" of the Backlash Against Big Tech.
- Research Questions:
1. When and why did the tech coverage shift?
2. How did tech companies respond to the rise of tech criticism? Which crisis communication strategies were utilized?
3. What can we learn about the more profound changes in the power relations between the tech media and the tech giants they cover?
- Research methods:
1. AI-Media monitoring, Big Data analytics – to identify the tech companies' peaks of coverage and evolving criticism.
2. Content analysis of the tech companies' crisis responses – to reveal their strategies.
- Most analyses focused on Facebook, Google (Alphabet, including YouTube), Twitter, Uber, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Yahoo, and Amazon.
Also in the book: IBM, Intel, Tesla, and Equifax (due to its data breach = "The largest data breach of personal information in history").
3. In-depth interviews with actors on both sides of the story, leading tech journalists and tech PR professionals – to create a virtual panel of experts, debating the broader meaning of the Techlash.
THE PRE-TECHLASH ERA Section
Chapter 1. Tech News and Tech Public Relations
THE TECHLASH ERA Section
Chapter 2. Big Tech – Big Scandals
Chapter 3. Tech Crisis Communication
Chapter 4. Evolving Techlash Issues
THE POST-TECHLASH ERA Section
Chapter 5. Never-Ending Criticism?
- The #TechlashBook Chapters - Content Outline
You can read a free chapter of the book here:
Hardcover | Paperback | eBook | Audiobook
- "In this deeply researched work, Nirit Weiss-Blatt provides an invaluable record of tech media's mood swing as its portrayal of Silicon Valley lurches from utopian to dystopian. What's most surprising and insightful here is Weiss-Blatt's well-documented evidence that the shift from tech-love to techlash came with the election of Donald Trump, as journalists chose to blame internet companies for his rise rather than examine their own culpability. This is much more than a book about tech's PR problems. It is a trenchant analysis and indictment of the news industry's simplistic, binary worldview. Overall, the Techlash book restores nuance to the debate over technology and society."
- Jeff Jarvis, Director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, The Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism Innovation, CUNY, Blogger, BuzzMachine. He is also the author of "What Would Google Do?", "Public Parts", "Geeks Bearing Gifts", and "Gutenberg the Geek."
- "Nirit's in-depth study of tech media chronicles the reputational rise and fall of an entire industry while providing valuable insights to those who work in it. The book provides PR professionals, journalists, and students with a comprehensive analysis of the Techlash's core issues. Whether you're working in tech journalism or tech PR, the book will broaden your understanding of the media scrutiny, the tech clients, and, thus, help you define the future correspondence between the two."
– Fred Cook, Chairman of Golin, Professor of Professional Practice, Director of the USC Center for Public Relations. He is also the author of "Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO."
- The full list of interviewees includes their positions at the time of the interview.
- Their observations throughout the book reflect their personal points of view and do not represent their organizations.
The Atlantic - Alexis Madrigal, Staff Writer
The Verge - Casey Newton, Senior Editor & Silicon Valley Editor
BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis, Blogger / Director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, The Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism Innovation, CUNY (The City University of New York)
BuzzFeed News - John Paczkowski, Technology and Business Editor
Reuters News - Jonathan Weber, Global Industry Editor for Technology
TechCrunch - Josh Constine, Editor-At-Large
Recode - Kara Swisher, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Editor
New York Times - Kashmir Hill, Technology Reporter
TechDirt - Mike Masnick, Founder and Editor in Chief
The Information - Nick Wingfield, Senior Editor
CNET - Richard Nieva, Senior Reporter
Wired - Scott Thurm, Business Editor
Anonymized - Tech Editor
Tech public relations
LaunchSquad - Brett Weiner, Partner
WE Communications - Katie Huang Shin, President of Technology Sector and Chief Strategy Officer
Ruder Finn - Rowan Benecke, Chief Growth Officer
Golin - Stephen Jones, Executive Vice President, Catalyst Community Leader
Anonymized - Senior PR executive
In the Media
- Podcasts Guest - Podchaser
- TWiG (This Week in Google) Podcast: How tech journalism changed since 2016
- Techdirt Podcast: How the Techlash happend
- Techdirt OpEd (opinion piece): Donald Trump Caused The Techlash
- Innovation Files Podcast: How pack journalism and predictable crisis PR responses have influenced the Techlash
- Business Bookshelf Podcast: Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt - Author of "The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication"
- NEWSWEEK OpEd: Big Tech's Art of Making Up the Rules as It Goes Along
- The PRovoke Media Podcast: The role of communication in Techlash
- Techdirt OpEd: Facebook: Amplifying the Good or the Bad? It's Getting Ugly
- Emerald Podcast Series: Understanding the Techlash Era
- Tech'ed Up Podcast: Big Tech PR: Battling Techlash
- Techdirt OpEd: A Guide for Tech Journalists: How To Be Bullshit Detectors and Hype Slayers (and Not the Opposite)
- Keen On Podcast: Why the Techlash Has Gone Too Far
- The Daily Beast OpEd: Don't Be So Certain Social Media Is Undermining Democracy
- Tech Policy Press OpEd: The Emerging Tech PR Template for Attacking Whistleblowers
- Peoples & Things Podcast: Nirit Weiss-Blatt on The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication
- The Daily Beast OpEd: Generative AI Is Not Our Gateway To Heaven Nor A Frankenstein Monster
- YouTube: AI Hype - Explained. A 25-minute version of my lecture "The Media Coverage of Generative AI."
- Tech News Weekly podcast: AI Headlines
- Techdirt OpEd: The AI Doomers' Playbook
- Medium post: 7 Ways AI Media Coverage is Failing Us
- AI Inside podcast (Club TWiT members-only show, exclusive content)
- All of Nirit's Techdirt posts
- My comment about Facebook's rebrand to Meta generated widespread discussion.
- An article in Forbes quoted the book for a discussion about the start-up's ethical movement: "In The Techlash, Nirit Weiss-Blatt chronicles the change in the nature of media coverage of the tech industry, from fawning admiration to a more critical stance that is slightly more capable of seeing warts in the sector."
- An article in Forbes quoted the book for a discussion about employee well-being: "Various stories of workers revolting against such practices have emerged in books such as The Techlash, by the University of Southern California's Nirit Weiss-Blatt, and Alex Rosenblatt's Uberland, with such stories taking some of the unvarnished veneers off of the march of technology in recent years."
- FamilyandMedia – an international think-tank with research members from Italy, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile – published a review of my book in three languages:
The author of this piece is a marketing expert from Italy, who wrote: "In her book The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication, she explores how – and through which means – tech companies have responded to the spreading negative sentiments about them and summarizes valuable lessons."
- In the 2022 Israel Brands Index, Google ranks first. Far behind, at number 123 (!): Facebook. WHY? An interview with Globes - Israel's financial newspaper (in Hebrew & English).
- Engadget featured my response to Andy Stone's fabricated email: The bizarre saga of Meta, The Wire and their fight over Indian content moderation.
- The Washington Post published an article on how social media content moderation wars are moving into the AI culture war: The right's new culture-war target: 'Woke AI.' My quote concerns Big Tech's failed attempt to avoid those AI-content moderation battles (more context - here).
- In an article for WIRED, Will Knight discusses the "Why They're Worried" paper (that I reviewed and summarized in this Twitter Thread): "A Letter Prompted Talk of AI Doomsday. Many Who Signed Weren't Actually AI Doomers." My quote.
- Sharon Goldman from VentureBeat published an article: "Even OpenAI's Ilya Sutskever calls deep learning 'alchemy'" that is based on materials I've provided her. It followed other Ilya Sutskever quotes I published in the "AI Panic Newsletter": "What Ilya Sutskever Really Wants."
- Erik Sherman published on Forbes a column titled "The Real Economic Problem of AI isn't Tech but People." He took Ilya Sutskever's quotes from my "What Ilya Sutskever Really Wants" post. Then, he added: "There is a lot going on under the surface. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a communications researcher who focuses on discussions of technology, has referred to 'AGI utopia vs. potential apocalypse' ideology' and how it can be 'traumatizing.'" (Indeed).
- Quotes during OpenAI's Saga:
VentureBeat (Matt Marshall): OpenAI's leadership coup could slam brakes on growth in favor of AI safety
- Investing 101 (Kyle Harrison): The Leaders of Movements
- That Was The Week (Keith Teare): The OpenAI Debacle - e /acc versus e /a
- Frackers (Michiel Frackers): It looks like Sam Altman is returning as CEO at OpenAI
- Slate (Nitish Pahwa): What the Heck Just Happened at OpenAI??
- Fast Company (Chris Stokel-Walker): New OpenAI CEO Emmett Shear's time at Twitch gives clues to the future of the AI giant
- The Independent (Chris Stokel-Walker): Doomers vs tech boomers: inside OpenAI's bizarre boardroom battle with the man 'who can see the future' (My quote)
- Le Monde (Alexandre Piquard): 'The Sam Altman saga shows that AI doomers have lost a battle'