Office Hours: I'm the Chief Technology Correspondent at Axios. I'm Ina Fried.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Ina Fried, Chief Technology Correspondent at Axios, an American news site focused on Smart Brevity. At Axios, I am the lead author of Login, Axios’ free daily tech newsletter. I also appear on our Axios on HBO television show as well as as a commentator on various broadcast outlets including, CNBC, NPR and Al-Jazeera English.Prior to Axios, I was senior editor at Re/code and All Things Digital and spent a decade at CNET, where I covered Microsoft and Apple, among other topics. I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Miami University.Ask me anything about journalism, communication, leadership, Lego and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @InaFried!Elphas – please ask @InaFried your questions before Friday, April 2nd. @InaFried may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Ina, I’m a fellow journalist covering stem issues (Forbes & my own podcast). I focus on women innovators in energy & climate & would like to connect & hear you’re thoughts on women tech innovators getting more credit, more opportunities and jobs, & higher pay. Let’s connect!
Hi Ina! I am a long-time big fan of yours:)Can you please share how you respond to ignorant/insensitive comments that people have made to you, or that you have heard people make about others? Can you share what you have learned over the years about calling in/calling out?
So, I have a pretty thick skin and don't spend a lot of time dealing with the haters. I'd say if someone does it publicly I am more likely to respond and even more so if it is about someone else.. For me, I can take it, but when someone insults me around gender it also sends a message to everyone else trans and non-binary that they are less than. And that I'm not OK with. I would say over the last couple of years I have tried to use more energy supporting and uplifting the community. I feel privileged to have all the resources and support I do and want to see that extended to all my brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings.I do sometimes respond to haters just to remind them there is a person on the other end and see if there is an opportunity to change some minds, especially since many of the people throwing shade have never met a trans person.But mostly I try to just focus on being out there as a positive influence, visibly and audibly trans, but doing my job.I will say I do a few self-preservation things. Once upon a time I used to get notifications every time someone posted a comment on a YouTube video of mine. I turned that off.
Thanks Ina. That's a great response.
What's your favorite type of pitch? Does any one pitch in all the pitches you've been sent stand out in your mind as extraordinary?
My favorite type of pitch is someone coming to me first with something they think I would be particularly interested in because they know me and know what I tend to write about. That's my advice in general for any story, find a reporter that has a passion for what you are talking about and will do the story justice. If it's me, great. If it's another reporter and they do a great job I will link to and amplify their work. The way I describe what works for me is I have a high bar and a low bar. The low bar is that it can be anything, an interesting person or product (in any stage of development), a funny anecdote, a good quote, whatever. The high bar — which lets me ignore 99% of things in my inbox — is that it's got to be genuinely interesting to people who aren't being paid to pitch it.
Hi Ina! I am doing a panel on cybersecurity marketing/PR and would love to know your thoughts around pitching Axios for stories. I know marketers can sometimes be grating to journalists and I would like to avoid that sentiment if all possible. Would love your expert opinion on this, and thank you for your generosity in holding this AMA!
I answered some of this in another question, but the biggest thing is take a little time to know the reporters you are pitching and what they cover and don't cover. Find the reporter who writes stories like the one you want to pitch. It will lead to better coverage too. If one reporter does a really good job, others will be interested.Whereas blasting a million reporters with the same pitch is less and less effective these days and doesn't build relationships. The best relationships I have are with PR folks who I have known a long time and know me and I know if they say it's up my alley it's likely to be the case.
Hey Ina! I don't really have a question, I just want to say that you were super-inspiring to me. I saw you speak at SXSW one time and you had this asymmetrically buttoned cardigan thing and it was the most adorable thing I'd ever seen. 💖
Thanks - And just because I buttoned it asymmetrically doesn't mean that's the way it was supposed to be buttoned. Fashion is not really my thing> :-)
Hi Ina, big fan of yours and Axios! Wanted to give a shot out to the amazing reporting and stories being covered by you and your team. I'd like to see your view on the rising trend of creator economy i.e. more and more content creators are moving into platform like Substack and become self-employed vs. traditional team-based news org approach. What's your view on monetization of content? Should it be free or paid by viewer? Thanks!
Thanks. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to either the question of individual creator vs. team newsrooms or to whether it should be paid or free.I do think it is vital that journalism find sustainable business models. And I'm all for anything that leads to that. I love what Axios is trying with Axios Local as local journalism is one of the toughest business models to make work in the Internet era but so, so important.But I'm for all kinds of things. I like working with colleagues and being part of a bigger news organizations, but there are a lot of benefits (except, you know, benefits) to the self-employed thing and I have friends that are doing that too.
Axios is my absolute favorite news source! I read the book "The Circle" by David Eggers years ago and have been haunted by it ever since. What struck me most was less the privacy aspect, but more the total loss of free will as the expectation of privacy evaporated and your only private space is well, the bathroom stall. A similar scenario played out in a Dark Mirror episode.As we see the tech companies power grow - and along with it misinformation, manipulation and a slippery slope towards what was envisioned by the book, how do you see this playing out? What can (or can't) be done to preserve free will?
I think the clearest thing people can do is speak up when the companies are proposing using tech in a way that is unsettling - and encouraging regulators and legislators to set boundaries. We are not eh cusp of all kinds of advances in algorithms, AI, facial recognition and more. The time to set ethical guidelines is now as it is always much harder to put genies back in bottles.
Totally agree... what scares me most is that legislators (and most people) don’t understand the real risk. Maybe I will mail a copy of The Circle to myCongresswoman!
Thank you so much Ina ! My question is simple and complex at the same time. This last year has shown how much proper science education and communication is crucial and how hard it is to fight against misinformation. In your experience as a communicator, what are scientists doing right and wrong regarding communicating science to the public and what can we do to be more effective? 😊thank you
It's a good question, and as you point out, deceptively complex. I think scientists need to recognize the communications landscape, draw on influencers, speak the language and recognize that science has been politicized, That's pretty much bad for society, but also the unfortunate reality.Nobel winner Jennifer Doudna talked about this some in my interview with her for Axios on HBO and I thought had some smart advice on this exact topic. If you have HBO, I totally recommend watching it. (It's episode 3-17, I believe)But in a nutshell she encouraged her fellow scientists to recognize the environment and engage.
How to keep your depth & breath in news reporting while making it brief? What are the top 3 trends in news media that may change the way we consume news today?
It's certainly a challenge, but to me a fun and worthy one, as most of us just don't have enough time to catch up on everything we should know about.For me it is about knowing the subject well and then trying to tell the news the way I would tell a good friend. Here's what happened. Here's why it matters and here's what's probably going on behind the scenes.As for trends, we are getting our news far more via social and on our phones, which has implications and lessons for those delivering the news.
Thanks @InaFried ! Look forward to seeing more interesting & socially constructive projects from Axios!
I'm a fangirl of Axios' newsletters, and I believe newsletters are having a golden moment. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that and to follow up, how is digital technology influencing or adapting to the trends in media news consumption?
I think newsletters are definitely having a moment, but I've been doing this long enough to know the delivery formats are always changing and, to some degree, go in a circle. If there are too many newsletters, people will rediscover blogs, or social.I think the key is to deliver genuinely useful info, while also taking advantage of the benefits of whatever format you are using — and recognizing that more reading is happening on mobile, regardless of whether it is Web, email newsletter, etc.I think the Axios approach is well-suited to this era in which there is so much happening in so many fields I love to read deeply on the areas I am most passionate about, but our Smart Brevity is great for catching up on the other areas that I should know about. So I am thankful as a journalist and as a reader.But I also love deeply reported, good behind-the-scenes stories and appreciate fellow journalists doing that work as well.