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Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, Ph.D. 

"The emerging tech-backlash
is a story of pendulum swings"

About the Author

 





Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, Ph.D., is a communication researcher and 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. 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, Le Monde, the Financial Times, IEEE Spectrum, and Scientific American.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Contents

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?

 

  

Hardcover | Paperback | eBook | Audiobook

 

 

 

Book Excerpts

In the Media

 

 

 

  • TWiG (This Week in Google) Podcast: How tech journalism changed since 2016

TWiT | Podcast Guru | YouTube: Full episode | What is the TechLash? | transcript

 

  • Techdirt Podcast: How the Techlash happend

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | transcript

 

 

  • Innovation Files Podcast: How pack journalism and predictable crisis PR responses have influenced the Techlash

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Castbox | ITIF | transcript

 

  • Business Bookshelf Podcast: Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt - Author of "The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication"

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Anchor.FM | Business Bookshelf | transcript

 

 

  • The PRovoke Media Podcast: The role of communication in Techlash

PRovoke Media | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | PodBean | transcript

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Emerald Podcast Series: Understanding the Techlash Era

Emerald | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | transcript

 

 

  • Tech'ed Up Podcast: Big Tech PR: Battling Techlash

Tech'ed Up | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | transcript

 

 

 

  • Keen On Podcast: Why the Techlash Has Gone Too Far

Keen On | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

 

 

 

 

 

  • Peoples & Things Podcast: Nirit Weiss-Blatt on The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication

Peoples & Things | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

 

 

 

  • YouTube: AI Hype - Explained. A 25-minute version of my lecture "The Media Coverage of Generative AI."

 

 

  • Tech News Weekly podcast: AI Headlines

Tech News Weekly | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube

 

 

 

 

  •  AI Inside podcast (Club TWiT members-only show, exclusive content)

 

 

  • AI Inside: Follow the Funding of AI Doom

AI Inside show | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | YouTube | Spotify

 

 

 - AI PANIC newsletter (Substack):

 

  • Quoted-in-news-outlets-LOGOs.jpg 

 

  • My comment about Facebook's rebrand to Meta generated widespread discussion. For example, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, USA Today, Yahoo Finance, The Mercury News, The Week UK, The London Economic, Jerusalem Post.

 

  • 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:

    EnglishItalian, and Spanish.

    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).

 

 

  • 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).

 

 

 

  • 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:

 

 

  • Scientific American magazine published an article (by Chris Stokel-Walker) on the "AI Impacts" survey: "AI Survey Exaggerates Apocalyptic Risks." I'm quoted about how the AI community is uncomfortable with the focus on "Existential Risk": "Nowadays, more and more people are reconsidering letting Effective Altruism [EA] set the agenda for the AI industry and the upcoming AI regulation. EA's reputation is deteriorating, and BACKLASH is coming."

 

 

  • "The AI Doomers Have Infiltrated Washington" (The Daily Beast, by Louis Anslow) featured my tweet on Effective Altruists who disavow the EA label, and do not cop to being EAs (even while wearing an Effective Altruism T-shirt).

 

  • The Week published a piece on the "complex tapestry of AI's impact on society" (by Harmeet Singh and Salik Khan). It mentioned I described 2023 as "the year of AI panic." 

 

 

 

  • "The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Six Years Later" (The Dispatch, by Will Rinehart) mentioned that in my Techlash book, I "laid the 'Techlash' at the feet of Cambridge Analytica."

 

Endorsements

  • "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."

 

 

Reviews