Elise Hu

Elise Hu is a reporter who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

She joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters who helped launch The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

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4:54pm

Mon July 21, 2014
All Tech Considered

1 Million Net Neutrality Comments Filed, But Will They Matter?

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 8:16 pm

Complaints about Janet Jackson's Super Bowl halftime show performance of 2004 led to a record number of public interactions with the Federal Communications Commission. This year's net neutrality comments come in second.
Donald Miralle Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission received more than 1 million public comments on the issue of net neutrality during a five-month commenting period that ended Friday.

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3:37am

Fri July 18, 2014
All Tech Considered

Better Culture Could Have Prevented Viral Comcast Call

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:13 am

The call center of Zappos.com gets high marks from consumers for strong customer service.
Shashi Bellamkonda Flickr

This week, one man's customer service call to Comcast turned into a badgering — a simple request to cancel his service was repeatedly beaten back by the employee on the other end of the line. It was a familiar feeling for a lot of us, which perhaps explains why more than 4 million people have listened to it in less than a week.

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2:32pm

Wed July 16, 2014
All Tech Considered

Don't Fire The Comcast Guy, Says Caller Who Tried To Cancel

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:12 pm

We don't know the fate of the Comcast service rep at the center of a viral call recording.
iStockphoto

Ryan Block, whose hilariously tedious customer service experience with Comcast struck a chord with millions, says the customer service rep who harangued him should not be fired.

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7:40pm

Tue July 15, 2014
All Tech Considered

FCC Extending Net Neutrality Commenting Time After Site Buckles

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

A flood of comments about net neutrality crashed the Federal Communications Commission's commenting site on Tuesday, the original deadline for public comments on the controversial Internet proposal. But the tech problems are buying those who want to weigh in some extra time — the deadline for public commenting is now Friday at midnight.

Of the 780,000 comments submitted to the FCC, 100,000 came on Tuesday alone, which the FCC's outdated electronic comment filing system was not capable of handling.

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11:53am

Tue July 15, 2014
All Tech Considered

Comcast 'Embarrassed' By The Service Call Making Internet Rounds

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:38 pm

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

When a customer service call is described as "Kafkaesque" and "hellish," you pretty much know how it's going to go down before even taking a listen. But in case you haven't heard the condescending, tedious call that's lit up the Internet, here it is:

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1:16pm

Mon July 14, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Giants Make Net Neutrality Case As Deadline Nears

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:49 pm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right) and Facebook lobbyist Joel Kaplan are part of the Internet Association, which filed comments in support of net neutrality Monday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

It's not just comedian John Oliver coming out against cable companies to support net neutrality. The world's largest Internet companies — Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and others — have officially chimed in, filing comments Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees Internet traffic.

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5:36am

Sat July 12, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Google's World Cup Play, Amazon Sued And Kids Tracked

Amazon, led by CEO Jeff Bezos, faces a federal lawsuit over unauthorized in-app purchases by children.
David Ryder Getty Images

Summertime in the tech world has made us eager for some lighter news, which you can find below. But the weightier legal battles in technology continue, as highlighted in our Big Conversation section. And links we think you should see are filed under Curiosities. Have a great weekend, readers.

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4:22pm

Fri July 11, 2014
All Tech Considered

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 10:41 am

Celebrity Internet cat Lil' Bub, who ranks No. 4 on the cat influencer list.
Dave Kotinsky Getty Images

For reasons I can't fully understand, the Internet loves its cats. Keyboard Cat and Grumpy Cat are household names, I Can Haz Cheezeburger is a digital empire, and my real-life cats are on a social networking site called Catster (this is not a joke).

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9:58am

Thu July 3, 2014
All Tech Considered

The Future Internet Is Not So Free Or Open, In Pew's New Survey

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 11:04 am

iStockphoto

What we know as the World Wide Web — the main way by which most of us access the Internet — just turned 25 this year. Its existence has allowed for all kinds of learning and free expression, coding and making, rule-breaking and platform-making.

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5:13am

Sat June 28, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Google's Plans, Aereo's Loss And Occupied Stalls

An attendee wears a Google Android Mascot hat during the Google I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

It's officially summer, but there's no slowdown on the technology news front. Here's your weekly roundup of notable stories in tech, from the team at NPR and beyond.

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4:20pm

Thu June 26, 2014
All Tech Considered

The Binge-Watch Before The Purge, Now That Aereo Is Likely Done

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:35 pm

Chet Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Aereo, which is fighting big broadcasters over its tiny antenna.
Elise Hu NPR

The Supreme Court gave broadcasters a big win this week in their battle against the startup service Aereo. Subscribers in select cities have been watching and recording live broadcast TV with Aereo, at a cost of $8 to $12 a month. But what happens to consumers now that the service is illegal?

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10:57am

Thu June 26, 2014
All Tech Considered

Facebook's Diversity Numbers Are Out, And They're What You Expect

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 3:42 pm

Numbers out Wednesday show almost 7 out of 10 Facebook staffers are male.
Photo Illustration: Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

The summer of tech company demographic data dumps continues apace. Facebook is the latest big firm to share its staff's racial and gender breakdowns, following similar releases from Google and Yahoo. Other tech firms NPR has reached out to say they are having conversations about whether they will do the same.

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9:56am

Sat June 21, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Yo, The Amazon Fire Phone And Apple's iWatch?

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company's first smartphone, the Fire Phone in Seattle on Wednesday.
David Ryder Getty Images

It was a big week for product news in the tech world, a topic we typically reserve for your weekly round-ups. Here we go ...

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11:21am

Fri June 20, 2014
All Tech Considered

Yo Is The Buzzy App Of The Moment, Whether Yo Like It Or Not

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 2:41 pm

justyo.co

6:49pm

Tue June 17, 2014
All Tech Considered

How Yahoo's Diversity Numbers Compare With Google's

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:05 pm

Yahoo is famously led by a woman, CEO Marissa Mayer. But its workforce, like most tech companies, is dominated by men.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Yahoo has responded to the years-long calls for tech companies to disclose their staffs' gender and racial breakdowns. The numbers released Tuesday show its workforce, like much of the tech industry, is dominated by white and Asian males. In its post releasing the data, Yahoo explained its reasoning:

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12:02pm

Tue June 17, 2014
All Tech Considered

Democrats Unveil A Bill To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 1:52 pm

The bill is sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Net neutrality has become a hot topic this summer, despite its snooze-inducing name. The principle governs that data on the Internet should be served to customers on a level playing field — at the same speeds — without priority for certain companies that might be able to pay for "fast lanes" for content.

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5:46am

Sat June 14, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Snooping On Steve, Uber Battles, 3-D Nutella Printing

Our cellphones are constantly sending out data, and it's easier to get than we thought.
Krocky Meschkin Flickr

So much tech news, so little time. Let's run down the highlights of our tech coverage this week.

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4:29pm

Thu June 12, 2014
All Tech Considered

Starbucks Makes Itself More Addictive With Wireless Phone Charging

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 11:11 am

Soon, you'll be able to recharge at Starbucks, and charge your device.
Courtesy of Duracell Powermat

Starbucks' latest innovation has nothing to do with coffee beans or breakfast, but it may lure the technologically dependent among us into its stores.

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3:15am

Thu June 12, 2014
All Tech Considered

Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:53 am

Taxi drivers gather in Berlin before joining an anti-Uber protest through the city. It coincided with similar protests in cities across Europe.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.

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12:11pm

Mon June 9, 2014
All Tech Considered

'Digital Deadly Sins': The Morality Of Our Digital Obsessions

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 10:42 am

A new interactive asks us to take a break from our endless stream of tweets and comments to examine who we are — morally — in the 21st century.
Courtesy of NFB Canada

One running thread here at All Tech is smartphone distraction, and whether our increasing dependence on connecting through our devices is bringing us together — or tearing us apart.

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10:46am

Sat June 7, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Apple In Homes, Snowden Anniversary, Sexism Flare-Ups

Apple's Craig Federighi introduces the company's Home Kit platform during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

It's time for your quick rundown of the week that was in technology and culture.

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4:19am

Fri June 6, 2014
Parallels

The 'Cool War' With China Is Unseen, But Comes With Consequences

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:13 am

Chinese paramilitary police march at Tiananmen Square in Beijing during winter 2014.
Goh Chai Hin AFP/Getty Images

The days of the Cold War are long gone — no more zero-sum showdowns against communism, no duck-and-cover lessons in propaganda videos. But some scholars argue that something else has taken that conflict's place: a "cool war," pitting the U.S. against China.

That war is flaring up, and it's high stakes for American industry.

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11:28am

Thu June 5, 2014
All Tech Considered

Chicago Conference Is The Latest In Tech Sexism Hall Of Shame

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:39 am

The Chicago tech community balked at this Techweek Chicago invite, which the event has now apologized for.
Courtesy of Techweek Chicago

Times may be slowly a-changin' for the Y-chromosome-dominant technology sphere, where it's becoming a tougher environment to objectify women, at least publicly.

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4:18pm

Wed June 4, 2014
All Tech Considered

Girlfriend 'Complains A Lot ... Interrupts,' Developer Tells Conference

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 1:16 pm

A slide from a presentation at a tech conference in Berlin.
Courtesy of Markos Saha

The consequences of a dearth of women in technology are showing up again, this time in a show of sexism at a tech conference in Berlin. (See update at end of post.)

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11:57am

Tue June 3, 2014
All Tech Considered

John Oliver Helps Rally 45,000 Net Neutrality Comments To FCC

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:53 pm

Comedian John Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Things are running smoothly now, but the Federal Communications Commission's public commenting system was so waylaid by people writing in on Monday that the agency had to send out a few tweets saying "technical difficulties" due to heavy traffic affected its servers.

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3:56pm

Mon June 2, 2014
All Tech Considered

Apple Makes A Play For 'Smart Homes' By Connecting Appliances

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:57 am

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Into the quickly crowding field of automated home gadgets and appliances comes Apple, which announced HomeKit at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday. HomeKit is its entrance into a nascent, fragmented market for home automation, aka the Internet of Things.

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5:20am

Sat May 31, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: C-E-Bros, Diversity Numbers And The Beats Deal

Rapper Dr. Dre is an executive at Apple, now.
Chelsea Lauren Getty Images for BET

The evidence of a lack of gender parity in technology keeps stacking up; this week we saw the fraternity-day emails of Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and the diversity and gender breakdowns that Google's been reluctant to share. Let's get right into your week in review:

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12:30pm

Thu May 29, 2014
All Tech Considered

Google's White Male-Heavy Staff Underlines Tech's Diversity Problem

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 3:38 pm

A long line for a men's room at a 2009 tech conference in Omaha, Neb. Photos of this situation have now inspired a Twitter feed.
SleepyJeanne Flickr

When it finally published a demographic breakdown of its workforce this week, tech giant Google admitted, "We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it's time to be candid about the issues."

This is what the numbers showed: Google's staff is made up of 70 percent men, is 61 percent white, 30 percent Asian, and all other races and ethnicities don't register above 5 percent.

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4:02pm

Wed May 28, 2014
All Tech Considered

Snapchat CEO's Emails Didn't Disappear, Come Back To Shame Him

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:19 pm

Evan Spiegel of Snapchat attends TechCrunch Disrupt in September. Responding to the release this week of emails from his not-so-distant fraternity days, Spiegel says they "in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women."
Steve Jennings Getty Images

We are in the midst of a realignment in the global economy, a new machine age in which technology is disrupting nearly every industry in the world. And who are the hot young stars of this great realignment?

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11:49am

Mon May 26, 2014
All Tech Considered

Wash And Deliver: Startups Aim To Solve First World Problems

Washio offers on-demand laundry pickup and delivery for $1.60 a pound.
Courtesy of Washio

Sick of doing the laundry? The latest hot Silicon Valley startup, Washio — the subject of a new profile in New York Magazine — lets you press a button on your phone and someone will come and pick up your laundry, or your dry cleaning.

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