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The New York Times building. Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Tensions between tech and tech media hit a boiling point over the weekend, in the latest fraying of a once-cozy relationship.

The shortest version is that New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz tweeted out some screenshots from the public Instagram of Away CEO Steph Korey, in which she criticized media coverage of her company.

  • Some tech investors and execs took exception to Lorenz’s characterization of Korey’s comments — and of amplifying them in the first place. The loudest opponent was crypto entrepreneur and former VC Balaji Srinivasan, who offered Bitcoin prizes to makers of memes about the episode (which, predictably, includes memes denigrating Lorenz).
  • This brouhaha extended from Twitter to techie voice chat app Clubhouse, a portion of which was leaked to Vice (don’t waste your time, the leak covered a pretty pedestrian hour of a longer conversation). Srinivasan has claimed Vice journalists themselves recorded the conversation, but has provided no evidence to back that up.

Some quick thoughts:

  1. Lorenz made a factual error in her initial tweet, related to Korey’s initial position at the company. She is a public figure, and scrutiny of such errors — and of her characterization of Korey's comments as "incoherent" — are fair game.
  2. Korey, as CEO of a (once) unicorn company, is also a public figure and her public comments are par for the course.
  3. Srinivasan escalated his longstanding critique of the media — and to the NYT in particular — into childish taunting and what could have become dangerous bullying. He also injected accusations of racial bias into the conversation, which was illegitimate.

Tensions between tech and those who cover it aren't new (see Wag, Valley). But there has been a ratcheting up of animosity and of assuming ill-intent. Not in all quarters, of course, but among some of the loudest and most influential voices in each realm.

The bottom line: Everyone needs to take a breath. Tech's job is to build. Tech media's job is to report on all aspects of what's being built — for better or for worse. And when mistakes are made, reflexive defensiveness is the worst posture.

Go deeper

Tech jobs aren't immune to the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's not just lower-wage service jobs in retail and at restaurants anymore. The effects of the coronavirus are beginning to reach the seemingly impervious tech industry.

By the numbers: New data from the jobs site Indeed shows that tech job postings were down 36% in late July, compared with the same time last year. That's even worse than the overall year-over-over drop in job postings of 21%.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.