About Me


Prologue:
Over a career in which I’ve worked on both sides of the fence, as a tech PR professional and a tech journalist, I’ve become fascinated with the tech media. I recognized how little the creation of the tech agenda is being studied or taught.  

As technology becomes more meaningful in almost every aspect of our lives, there is a growing need to better understand the various forces in the tech ecosystem. My academic journey is dealing with 1. the intersection of technological innovations, journalism, and PR in general, 2. the creation of the tech agenda in particular.

- How is technology being introduced, covered and criticized?
- Who sets the tech agenda? 
- How are big tech companies and their strategic communication efforts adjust to the rising "Techlash"? 

In the new era of reckoning regarding tech's ramification on society, those examinations are even more crucial. 
My academic journey focuses on the evolution of the tech coverage and Tech PR in order to fill those voids.


Education:

B.A. in Communication, Honor Students Program (2003-2006)
Yezreel Valley College, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Communication. Graduated: January 2007. Magna cum Laude.

M.A. in Political Science (2007-2008)
The Executive program in Political Communication, Tel Aviv University, The Faculty of Social Sciences, The Departments of Communication and Political Science. Graduated: February 2009.

Completion of M.A Thesis (2009-2010)
The University of Haifa, The Faculty of Social Sciences, The Department of Communication. Supervisor: Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli.

Ph.D. (2011-2016)
The University of Haifa, The Faculty of Social Sciences, The Department of Communication. Supervisors: Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli & Prof. Gabriel Weimann.

Dissertation: "Agenda-Setting, Two-Step Flow and Tech Blogs: The Role of Tech Bloggers in the Flow of Information."


The study dealt with two "old" mass communication theories – agenda setting and the two-step flow of communication - in light of the new media era. The research was pioneering in its advancing of those theories from the classical political field to "innovation journalism."


Who Sets the Tech Agenda?  
Due to the emerging rise of tech blogs in the news coverage of innovation, the dissertation aimed to examine whether the traditional media's role in dictating the topics for discussion also preserved in tech news.

I used an innovative Big Data tool, added the examination of the public interest in tech-related issues (tech companies/ products/ themes) using Google Trends, examined the correlation between the rankings for traditional media vs. tech blogs, conducted time-series analysis for causality, and network analysis for the new Network Agenda Setting (NAS) model. 


Post-doc at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism:

visiting research fellow at the University of Southern California.

The first year of post-doc was in M{2e} – Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program.


The second year is in CPR - The Center for Public Relations. 



I'm also involved in the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AnnLab), and the Annenberg Networks Network (ANN) research group (Members' list).

For more details, here is the fellowship story (USC-Annenberg site, Feb 22, 2018):

M{2e} hosts visiting research fellow Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt

Research project

Tech News & Tech PR in Light of the New "Techlash"

Together with Prof. Burghardt Tenderich, I initiated the "Tech PR" research group. Prof. Tenderich is the associate director of USC Center for Public Relations and co-director of the public relations studies program. 
Katrina Swarthout, a grad student in the Master of Strategic Public Relations program, joined us as a research assistant.

We gathered a full year of tech coverage and tech PR responses. We finished analyzing the data, and currently working on peer-reviewed papers. 


Awards:

2013: Award for "Novelty of Presentation or Ideas" at the Early Stage Researchers Colloquium organized by The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin (November 21, 2013). 

Grants:

* 2015: Yedioth Haifa scholarship for academic excellence (of the doctoral dissertation) 

* 2011-2014: Excellence scholarships for Ph.D. students from the Graduate Studies Authority, University of Haifa.

* 2003-2006: Excellence scholarships for all 3 years of B.A., Yezreel Valley College.


Work Experience

August 2017 - Present 
Visiting Research Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) in L.A. 

The first year of post-doc was in M{2e} – Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program. The second year is in CPR - The Center for Public Relations. 

I'm also involved in the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AnnLab), and the Annenberg Networks Network (ANN) research group (Members' list).

October 2016 - February 2017 
Lecturer. Teaching the course "Innovation Journalism" at the Technion International School, International School of Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management. 


2015 (December)
Guest Lecturer at the Haifa University Startup & Entrepreneurship Club. 

August 2014 - June 2015 
Guest Lecturer at the Technion International School, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program. 

February 2013 - August 2017 
Deputy-Editor at TelecomNews. Telecomnews.co.il is a Telecom, Computing & Technology News portal (in Hebrew).

2011 - Present 
Research Associate at the Center for Internet Research, University of Haifa.

2011 (August)
Teaching Assistant at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Management, Department of Business Administration, in the framework of the course: "Information and Community." 
Among the topics: Virtual Community, Wisdom of Crowds, Interactivity, Multitasking. 

2010 (July-November)
Teaching Assistant at Ariel University, School of Communication, New Media Track, in the framework of the course: "The Digital Media Elements." 
Among the topics: Blogs, Online Privacy, Google, Wiki, Social Networking, Online Political Campaigns, Mobile.

2005 – 2009
PR Representative in Leading Public Relation Agencies. The PR work included: Strategy, Media Consulting Activities, Event Management, Marketing Communications, and Crisis Management. 

The PR Fields included: Internet, Blogosphere, Hi-Tech, Biomed (Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices), Child Welfare (Foster Care), Politics & Law.

* 2001 - 2003
Military Service: Served as an officer at the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Northern Command (responsible for the northern borders with Syria and Lebanon). 
Main activities: Budgetary management: Developed and implemented a three-years' budget plan. Managed funding for facilities and supplies for training soldiers from various military units. Guided combat soldiers and command officers. Developed curriculums to improve their skills. Planned and executed training events.


Membership in Professional Organizations:

ICA- International Communication Association
- Divisions: Mass Communication/ Journalism Studies/ Public Relations/ Information Systems

NCA- National Communication Association
- Divisions: Mass Communication/ Public Relations/ Economics, Communication and Society

AEJMC- Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
- Public Relations Division (PRD) 

IAMCR- The International Association for Media and Communication Research
- Sections: Journalism Research and Education/ Communication Policy & Technology/ Emerging Scholars Network

AoIR- Association of Internet Researchers

ISCA- Israel Communication Association