How Pack Journalism and Predictable Crisis PR Responses Have Influenced the Techlash, With Nirit Weiss-Blatt

By Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

The “techlash” is a story of extreme pendulum swings—from an era in which splashy product launches earned gushing media reviews to a relentless crisis narrative in which the tech industry is viewed with harsh suspicion. How has this happened? Is it a case of pack journalism run amok, or have tech companies contributed to the narrative with predictable formulas for handling a PR crisis? Rob and Jackie discuss all this with Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a former research fellow at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and author of the new book The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communications.Mentioned:Nirit Weiss-Blatt, The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communications (UK: Emerald Publishing Limited, 2021). Patrick Grother, Mei Ngan, and Kayee Hanaoka, Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) Part 3: Demographic Effects, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Interagency Report 8280, December 2019. Related:Robert D. Atkinson, et al., “A Policymaker’s Guide to the ‘Techlash’—What It Is and Why It’s a Threat to Growth and Progress” (ITIF, October 2019).Doug Allen and Daniel Castro, “Why So Sad? A Look at the Change in Tone of Technology Reporting From 1986 to 2013” (ITIF, February 2017).Michael McLaughlin and Daniel Castro, “The Critics Were Wrong: Data Shows the Best Facial Recognition Algorithms Are Neither Racist Nor Sexist” (ITIF, January 2020). 

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