About Me


Prologue


Over a career in which I've worked on both sides of the fence, as a Tech Public Relations 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. I decided to apply my tech background to research the various forces shaping the tech discourse

A decade of research resulted in an in-depth book about tech journalism and tech PR: The TECHLASH and Tech Crisis Communication. It provides the necessary historical background and uncovers the underlying causes of the backlash against Big Tech.

I also utilized my PR expertise and conducted a thorough analysis of the companies' crisis response strategies. Consequently, my Tech PR Template for Crises outlines how companies attempt to defend themselves. It formed a new conceptual claim entitled "Tech Crisis Communication" and revealed the various means by which companies consistently try to evade responsibility. 

Nirit Weiss-Blatt Venn Diagram Tech Journalism Tech Industry Academia


Most analyses focused on Facebook, Google (Alphabet, including YouTube), Amazon, Twitter, UberApple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Yahoo.
Also in the book: IBM, Intel, Tesla, and Equifax (due to its data breach = "The largest data breach of personal information in history").

I'm a Contributor to Techdirt.com

Nirit Weiss-Blatt Techlash OpEds


My recent OpEds explored the formation of the Techlash
Big Tech's evolving policies (Newsweek magazine)
tech companies' infamous secrecy
their media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic
amplifying the good/ a mirror for the ugly/amplifying the bad?
the "Facebook Papers" and TECHLASH 2.0

I feel grateful that my research can add valuable data to those debated issues.

Research Interest


  • Expertise
Tech journalism; Tech public relations; Innovation & entrepreneurship

  • Theoretical Background
Communication theory; Media effects; Public relations; Crisis communication

  • Empirical ResearchQuantitative & Qualitative methods 
Content analysis; Big data analytics (including advanced statistical analysis methods); Machine-learning media monitoring


Additional Skills


  • Newsroom: Editing news articles and OpEds (short-form and long-form), reporting, storytelling, event planning & interviewing tech executives

  • PR: Corporate communications strategy, product launching, media relations, event management, and crisis communication 


Education


  • B.A. in Communication, Honor Students Program (2003-2006). Magna cum Laude.

  • M.A. in Political Science (2007-2008).

  • Completion of M.A Thesis (2009-2010).

  • Ph.D. (2011-2016) in Communication. 
Dissertation: Agenda-Setting, Two-Step Flow and Tech Blogs: The Role of Tech Bloggers in the Flow of Information.



Research Fellowship at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism


visiting research fellow at the University of Southern California.

The first year was in M{2e} – Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program. Hosts: Gabriel Kahn, professor of professional practice of journalism, and Prof. Chris Smith, clinical professor of communication.

The second and third years were in CPR - The Center for Public Relations. 
Host: Fred Cook, professor of professional practice and Chairman of global PR agency Golin.

Logos

I was also involved in the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AnnLab) and the Annenberg Networks Network (ANN) research group, directed by prof. Emeritus Peter Monge and prof. Emeritus Janet Fulk. Members' list.

For more details, here is the fellowship announcement (USC-Annenberg site, Feb 22, 2018): M{2e} hosts visiting research fellow Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt



Tech News & PR in light of the emerging Techlash 


Despite the growing importance of 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 Techlash in particular. 


Together with Prof. Burghardt Tenderichthe associate director of the USC Center for Public Relations and co-director of the public relations studies program, I launched a "Tech PR" research group. 

DrTechlash Google Search meme


I'm available for Lectures / Courses / Consulting


For lectures and courses on Tech Journalism and the Techlash, as well as consulting services on Tech Crisis Communication, you can reach me at: 
nirit(at)TechlashBook(dot)com


Work Experience 


  • April 2021 - Present 
Contributor to tech news site Techdirt.
Providing analysis on all things Techlash.

I have also published in Newsweek magazine, The Daily Beast, and Tech Policy Press.

  • March 2020 - Present 
Book Author: "The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication." Emerald Publishing Limited (UK). www.TechlashBook.com

  • August 2017 - August 2020 
Visiting Research Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) in L.A. 

  • 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.

  • 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, dos & 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 pitches.

  • 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 pitches and prepared them for VC meetings.

  • 2010 - August 2017 
Tech Journalist. The journalistic work included covering Israel's innovation ecosystem, tech conferences, interviewing tech executives from startups and International companies. 
Then, Deputy-Editor (at a Telecom, Computing & Technology News portal). Editing numerous tech stories - news articles and OpEds (both short-form and long-form) from freelancers, entrepreneurs, and academic scholars.

  • 2011 - 2017 
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 (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. 

  • 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. 

  • 2005 – 2009
Tech Public Relations Specialist 

- The fields included: Telecom, Consumer electronics & gadgets, Biomed (pharmaceuticals & medical devices), Nonprofit organizations, Tech 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), 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-year 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.



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.


Membership in Professional Organizations


  • 2013 - PresentICA- International Communication Association. Divisions: Mass Communication/ Journalism Studies/ Public Relations

  • 2014 - PresentAoIR- 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

  • 2020 - PresentPRSA- Public Relations Society of America. Section: Technology.

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  • 2009 - 2017ISCA- Israel Communication Association


- My name in Hebrew: ד"ר נירית וייס-בלט




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