Francesco Zaffarano: How Small Newsrooms and Media Startups are using TikTok

Francesco Zaffarano is the Senior Audience Editor at Devex, a media development platform. He worked for The Economist and La Reppublica. During his lecture in the #NPDJ, he spoke about the use of TikTok by small media.

© Paciane Rouchon

TikTok is not a dancing app, it’s a multifaceted platform where people gather to spend their time and be entertained”, Francesco Zaffarano told the audience while presenting various examples of news publishers on TikTok. 

Mentioning examples of non-comedy journalistic content on TikTok (such as Will Media, Ac2ality, Openly…), Francesco Zaffarano explained how the platform can be an opportunity for journalism, particularly for small newsrooms and media startups. For this reason, Francesco Zaffarano started mapping journalism on TikTok in 2019 by building a directory of publishers on TikTok. With 400 accounts listed, and more added every week, he hopes to show how stereotypical the idea that TikTok should be producing comedy is.

With examples ranging from explaining flagship reforms using pasta, to translating fact-checking articles into short-form videos, Francesco Zaffarano stressed the importance of understanding the audience populating that platform rather than focusing on trends. “Content is king, context is queen, he summarized. Make good journalism and think about the people you are making it for.

By Caroline RENAUX, Minh DRÉAN, Laura SALABERT and Amandine HESS

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