Storytelling on TikTok: Opportunities for journalists

Although many of us have a TikTok account, especially when we are talking about younger generations, only a few think of TikTok as a platform in which we can get informed about what is happening around the world. However, in the ever-evolving landscape of digital media, TikTok has gained ground not only in the realm of entertainment, but also in the dissemination of news. In order to understand the distinguishing characteristics of this platform and the ways in which journalists can master the art of producing vertical video content, we follow the success stories of three journalists pioneering on TikTok.  

Personality is the key 

When someone scrolls through Sophia Smith Galer’s TikTok account, they will find explainer videos about a range of different things, from language learning to sexual reproductive rights and other stories that attract her attention. In her keynote speech News brands are on TikTok – but where are the journalists? the journalist, author and TikTok creator explained that TikTok has become the fastest growing source of news for adults in Britain. Indeed, 49% of news outlets around the world have already their own TikTok account. However, where are individual journalists that both entertain and inform the public without losing their own personality and approach to news making?  

The Digital News Project (2022) of Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reports that publishers are adopting different strategies on TikTok. Their main approach is to repurpose existing content for distribution on the platform. To capture viewers’ interest, they opt for straightforward language and a casual tone and are willing to interact with viewers. However, Sophia Smith Galer points out a gap in this approach: it lacks content specifically made for TikTok that showcases the creator’s unique personality and niche. Such content is important as it not only represents the creator but also raises awareness and entertains simultaneously. 

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