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Twitter war between NYT reporter Taylor Lorenz and Balaji Srinivasan; here’s what happened

A conversation about ethics in journalism escalated and led to arguments on various apps

Twitter war between NYT reporter Taylor Lorenz and Balaji Srinivasan; here's what happened
New York, First Published Jul 6, 2020, 4:14 PM IST
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New York: It's nothing new to see public rifts form between Silicon Valley's elite and the press that covers them.

Arguments about "bad faith" reporting or an "unfair" depiction spark on Twitter, lengthy diatribes are published to the medium, and venture capitalists, founders rage-post on Facebook.

Taylor Lorenz who writes for the New York Times (NYT) made a comment on Instagram from a story shared by Steph Korey, co-founder of Away, an online-based luggage company. And this was out of the blue.

Steph is a vocal supporter of other female founders and business leaders whose inherent additional hurdles, brought on by societal expectations, go unappreciated in public discourse about women running startups. She expressed concerns that, due to the drama female founders endure, women will decide not to attempt entrepreneurial endeavours at all.

Lorenz captured a screenshot of one of Korey's messages and shared it on Twitter. Her derisive caption described one of Korey's posts about the impact social media has had on journalism as "incoherent" and referred to Korey as someone who was perpetuating "falsehoods".

Lorenz’s long Twitter thread complaining about criticism from venture capitalists piqued the interest of investor Balaji Srinivasan.

The tweet that sparked Lorenz’s thread was a post in which Srinivasan called Lorenz a “disgraceful journalist.” But Lorenz failed to mention that the tweet was a sarcastic re-rendering of what Lorenz herself had posted earlier in the day, about a tech CEO.

That criticism led Srinivasan, a tech founder who opened a genetics company called Counsyl, to respond to Lorenz.

In the reply, Srinivasan challenged the claim that Korey's post was “incoherent”, and criticised Lorenz for the ironic choice to chastise a female founder's public conversation about the hassles of being constantly chastised as a female founder.

Srinivasan also highlighted the potential that Lorenz's post could violate the NYT rules on employee use of social media.

A day later, Lorenz posted on Twitter, explaining that she was a victim of verbal attacks by VCs and other people in the tech industry on the Clubhouse app.

She complained that venture capitalists want to “destroy her career” — because they criticised Lorenz on social media.

Lorenz cut off the screenshot of Srinivasan’s original tweet, making it look like the criticism came out of nowhere and not as a response to Lorenz’s similar message about the Away Luggage CEO.

In addition to all the negativity, Lorenz also reported being a victim of threats and hacking attempts on her online accounts.

All of this has triggered a Twitter debate between journalists. Lorenz and Srinivasan have been at loggerheads since then.

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