Online Influencers and the Future of Media: A Conversation with Taylor Lorenz

October 11, 2023
4:30 P.M. ET
L-140 Goodman, Littauer Building
Join tech journalist Taylor Lorenz and Shorenstein News Lab director Emily Dreyfuss for a conversation about online influencers, culture, and the media. This discussion is the inaugural event of the newly-expanded Shorenstein Center News Lab.

As traditional journalism has collapsed and morphed, distinctions between “online” and “real world” have blurred, and social media platforms have captured huge amounts of people’s time, the attention economy has made space for and amplified new kinds of trusted voices. It has also amplified many of the darker sides of society, giving space and anonymity to extremism and hatred.

Taylor Lorenz, columnist for The Washington Post, has been reporting on internet culture and its many implications for over a decade. Her new book, “Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet” tracks the history of digital culture over the past 20 years.

Join Taylor Lorenz and Shorenstein Center News Lab director and journalist Emily Dreyfuss in a conversation about what news influencers can teach the news media, the role influencers play in the larger information ecosystem, women and misogyny in media, and the impacts of influencer culture on audiences and society at large.

The event will be introduced by former journalist and current MC-MPA student Julia Allison.

Taylor Lorenz is a technology columnist for The Washington Post’s business section covering online culture and the content creator industry. She was previously a technology reporter for The New York Times business section, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Her writing has appeared in New York magazine, Rolling Stone, Outside magazine, and more. She frequently appears on NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and the BBC. She was a 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a former affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Lorenz often appears in documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and HBO including Netflix’s Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga, HBO’s Fake Famous, and HBO’s Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia. In 2020, she helped adapt a feature she wrote for The New York Times into the documentary Who Gets To Be An Influencer?, which ran on FX and Hulu.

Lorenz was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of leaders in Media and Entertainment. Adweek included her in their Young Influentials Who Are Shaping Media, Marketing and Tech listing, stating that Lorenz “contextualizes the internet as we live it.” Town & Country named her to their New Creative Vanguards list of a rising generation of creatives, calling her “The Bob Woodward of the TikTok generation.” In 2023, Lorenz was named tech and media influencer of the year by the World Influencers & Bloggers Association

Emily Dreyfuss is a journalist who covers the impact of technology on society, with a focus on social media and information systems. She is the director of the Shorenstein Center’s News Lab, and previously was senior editor on the center’s Technology and Social Change (TaSC) team. Emily got her start in journalism as a local newspaper reporter, then as an editor at an alt-weekly, before entering the tech reporting fray as an editor at CNET. She was a senior writer and editor at WIRED for many years and helped launch the tech news site Protocol. As a 2017-2018 Harvard Nieman Berkman Klein fellow, Emily studied ephemerality and the internet. She is interested in how technology accelerates change.

This event is open to the public and all Harvard community members. This event will be livestreamed on our YouTube page.