About Me


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

Moving to academia, my ultimate goal is to fill the gap by applying my tech background and experience to research the various forces shaping the tech discourse.

My studies are dealing with 1. the intersection of technological innovations, journalism, and PR in general. 2. the creation of the tech media agenda in particular.

- How is technology being covered and criticized?
- Who sets the tech agenda? 
- The shift in tech coverage and the rising Techlash (tech-backlash). Consequently: How are big tech companies and their strategic communication efforts respond to the mounting criticism? 

In the new era of reckoning regarding tech's ramification on society, those examinations are even more crucial. I'm addressing them as both a researcher and an educator. 

Research Interest

Main specialty:  Tech news; Tech public relations; Innovation & entrepreneurship

Theoretical background:  Communication theory; Media effects; Agenda setting; Public relations; Crisis communication

Methodological background:  Quantitative methods; Content analysis; Network analysis; Time-series analysis; Big data analytics; Machine-learning media monitoring

Image Summarizing My Experience & Expertise

Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt experience and expertise


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 the tech field.

Who Sets the Tech Agenda?  

Due to the emerging rise of tech blogs in the news coverage of innovation (in the mid-2000s), 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.

While the classic agenda-setting theory points the information flow direction from the traditional media, the study provided empirical support for a role reversal in which the bloggers set the topics for the traditional media and through them set the public agenda.

This comprehensive study on the tech coverage also captured the state of tech journalism back in 2012. In the pre-techlash era, tech media outlets published more positive coverage than negative to encourage innovation. Tech companies were used to the "cheerleading" of product launches, which I described as "Product Journalism." This favorable coverage hardly addressed tech's broader impact on society. Now, it is the most debated issue.

Post-doc at USC 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 and third years are 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"

Despite the growing importance of the tech coverage, there has been a lack of theoretical and empirical work on the interplay between tech journalism and tech PR in general, and in light of the new techlash in particular. 

Together with Prof. Burghardt Tenderich, I initiated the "Tech PR" research group. Prof. Tenderich is the associate director of the 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 and finished analyzing the data. 

USC Annenberg_Center for Public Relations_Tech PR_Research Group_Nirit Weiss Blatt.


: 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). 


* 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 & third years are 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).

2018: Instructor: Direct Research: Tech PR.
USC Master of Strategic Public Relations
Initiated the research group and had a substantial influence on the research steps. The main topics: Big tech companies' crisis communication due to their accumulated tech scandals.
Graded the weekly tasks and final assignment.

October 2016 - February 2017 
Instructor. Teaching the course "Innovation Journalism" at the Technion International School, International School of Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management. 
Initiated this new course and developed the entire content of the syllabus.
Among the topics: Tech journalism, do's and don'ts of working with the media.
I gave all of the lectures to the International students and graded their final projects (startup pitch deck & media pitch).

Wordcloud. Innovation Journalism_course_Nirit Weiss Blatt.

2015 (December)
Guest Lecturer at the Haifa University Startup & Entrepreneurship Club. 
Helped the various students to develop their startup pitch.

August 2014 - June 2015 
Guest Lecturer at the Technion International School, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program. Instructor: Prof. Harry Yuklea.
Helped the International students to develop their startup pitch and prepared them for VC's meetings.

February 2013 - August 2017 
Tech Journalist: Deputy-Editor at TelecomNews, a Telecom, Computing & Technology News portal (in Hebrew). The journalistic work included covering Israel's innovation ecosystem, tech conferences, interviewing tech executives from startups, and International companies, editing numerous tech stories.

2011 - Present 
Research Associate at The Internet Lab, University of Haifa.

2011 (August)
Teaching Assistant at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Management, Department of Business Administration (MBA students), in the framework of the course: "Information and Community." Instructor: Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli.
Among the topics: Virtual Community, Wisdom of Crowds, Interactivity, Multitasking. 
Graded final papers.

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

2005 – 2009
Tech Public Relations Specialist 

- The fields included: Telecom sectors, Consumer electronics & gadgets, Biomed (pharmaceuticals & medical devices), Nonprofit organizations, Communication law & regulation (e.g., ISOC-IL, Israel Internet Association).
- The services included corporate communications strategy, product launching, media relations, event management (e.g., Biomed conferences with more than 6,000 participants from over 45 countries), media training for CEOs, branded content, and crisis communication. 

* 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 a curriculum to improve their skills. Planned and executed training events.

Membership in Professional Organizations

2013 - Present
ICA- International Communication Association. 
Divisions: Mass Communication/ Journalism Studies/ Public Relations/ Information Systems

2014 - Present
AoIR- Association of Internet Researchers

2016 - PresentIAMCR- The International Association for Media and Communication Research. Sections: Journalism Research and Education/ Communication Policy & Technology/ Emerging Scholars Network

2017 - PresentAEJMC- Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Public Relations Division (PRD) 

2018 - PresentNCA- National Communication Association. Divisions: Mass Communication/ Public Relations/ Economics, Communication and Society


2009 - 2017ISCA- Israel Communication Association

My Pictures

Credit: Nikita Melvil

Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt
 Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt

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