High-Lights: Our Tech PR POV

PRSA Silicon Valley: Media Predicts Tech Trends for 2020

Photo by CoWomen

Last month, a few folks from our San Francisco office joined the Silicon Valley Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter at their 13th Annual Media Predicts Gala and Awards Ceremony. Joined by a stellar panel made up of notable reporters, like Ina Fried of Axios, Laura Mandaro of Forbes, Mike Isaac of The New York Times, Ryan Mac of Buzzfeed and Jack Stewart of Marketplace–the team got to hear insights on what trends media are anticipating for 2020 from conversation about “Big Tech,” data privacy and more.

Ready with a delicious dinner paired with a nice glass of wine, Highwire–joined by some of our clients–jotted down some notes on key takeaways from the night for tech trends in 2020 and insight on pitching reporters at these top tier publications.

Panelists shared some noteworthy insight on what they anticipate for tech trends in 2020. Here are our top picks:

  • The road to regulation for Big Tech: Facebook has become the poster child for all the bad things happening in tech. They have no allies on any side of politics and have been losing trust from its users. Curious as to why we haven’t seen any regulation? To put it in plain words, it’s just not that easy. The two main areas the government can explore, however, are antitrust and privacy. While these areas are being regulated with regulations like GDPR in the EU, the panelists let us know we simply don’t have the same means in the US. With election season coming in 2020, we can expect to see the introduction of new laws to regulate “Big Tech.”
  • The effect of Big Tech for up-and-coming companies: We are seeing the same four or five tech companies control every part of how we live our lives. From smart devices, social media to ride-sharing apps, the lens of how the world operates is coming from just a handful of companies. Crazy, right? Panelists anticipate startups will continue to be acquired from influencing giants, making it tougher for us to know who the next company will be to join the elite as they’ll be more cautiously selected. 
  • An open conversation on why you should care about data privacy: When it comes to privacy, reporters warn that while everyone is “watching the front door,” the back door is what’s scary. Even with the knowledge of companies having access to our data, we haven’t seen public outcry. Reporters say this means the average person doesn’t have enough information to know if they should care about their data privacy. With new laws and regulations, 2020 could be the year of enlightenment for those still in the dark. The opportunity will heavily rely on the media to continue to provide the public with the necessary knowledge needed to dispell misinformation.

Beyond some insightful trends and predictions, the panel took part in a series of rapid-fire questions that shined a light on some of their personal preferences. If you’re thinking about pitching any of these lovely reporters, listen up!

  • On the record vs off the record conversations: Be careful what you say on and offline, you may see it in print. While reporters do honor “on the record” conversations, they let us know there needs to be an agreement. If there’s no two-way agreement, sorry bud, but panelists say your words are fair game *cough cough* Elon Musk.
  • Best time to pitch a reporter: Does the early bird get the worm? Ask early risers Mike Isaac and Laura Mandaro. Meanwhile, you’re more likely to catch Ryan Mac and Ina Fried with the sight of the moon as they both admit they’re night owls. Gotta get that newsletter out somehow, right, Ina?
  • Checklist before pitching a startup: If you’re pitching a startup, panelists shared a few items you need to check off your list before getting in their inbox. Does your startup have a good business model? What about real customers? Have you found the right reporter who’s passionate about your topic? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you’re ready to click send.

We’re excited to see how these media trends play out in 2020. With the introduction of new technology and regulations, anything is possible. Let us know what trends you anticipate for 2020. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Facebook