Nic Newman: What 20 top media are doing on TikTok

Nic Newman is a journalist, digital strategist and Senior Researcher at Oxford University. He presents today at the NPDJ conference the first results of the Digital News Reports on publishers strategies to be successful on TikTok.  

(C) Pacian ROUCHON

3 bullets points : 

  • 40% of the 18/24 are on TikTok, 15% to consume news 
  • Two different stratégies to establish themselves on TikTok  : creator led vs newsroom led 
  • Publishers want TikTok to change to be more supportive of journalism  

« Information is more present than it used to be on Tik Tok. It’s not just about dancing anymore » Nic Newman says as an introduction. Hence the need for the media to get involved, which 86% of the French publishers have done. 

It is for them a way to reach the generation Z (40% of the 18/24 are on Tik Tok), to develop new skills, especially by filming vertically, and of course a necessity with of the potential disinformation that can spread on the platform otherwise. « The media have been behind on other platforms, they don’t want to be behind on this one, » adds Nic Newman. 

He distinguishes between two styles of approaches that media outlets are using to get on TikTok. On the one hand, publishers such as the Washington Post or Le Monde have taken the gamble of translating information into the language of the platform, using comedy for example. This is reflected in the recruitment of a young team; Le Monde’s team is made up of journalists aged 24 to 32! On the other hand, the classic journalistic approach, recycled on Tik Tok. This is notably the choice of Sky News: « For them TikTok is another screen on which we can do journalism » summarizes Newman. 

According to him, « TikTok is still in its infancy. What would TikTok have to change to be a better journalism platform? » First, by finding a way to prioritize the most important journalistic posts, where the information is verified to restrain misinformation. By also being more transparent about how the algorithm works, and why posts are removed from the platform, or not. 


By LAPORTE Nathan and SILVANT Florine

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