That is Half 1 in a sequence of articles I’m engaged on to have a look at the fast-growing pattern of people that say they get their information both solely, or principally, on TikTok. We’re going to look into tendencies, statistics, and provides examples of individuals already in that house doing information.

It was 1986. I used to be in center college, simply having come out of gymnasium class. I walked into my subsequent classroom and the room was full of scholars crying.

The instructor snapped at me, “Why aren’t you in your homeroom?”

I began crying as a result of everybody else was crying (and I simply received yelled at!), and stated by means of tears, “That is my subsequent class!”

“Haven’t you heard? THE CHALLENGER EXPLODED!?”, a bossy scholar yelled at me.

Extra yelling so extra tears from me.

I wandered by means of the halls making an attempt to recollect my homeroom within the haze of “What do you imply it exploded?”

After I received to my homeroom, the scholars all watched as I watched what they’d already seen – the launch – the smoke – the confusion – the understatement of “Clearly a serious malfunction” from NASA audio.

It’s onerous to think about now there was a time it took so lengthy for unhealthy information to get to somebody.

In an ironic accident looking forward to what my profession would develop into, I keep in mind sitting at dinner that evening with the TV on the dinner desk (sure, it was that means), and pushed again my plate demanding “Why are they exhibiting this at time for dinner?? Who can watch that and eat?”. I ran to my room.

In 35 years, we’ve gone from lacking the massive story due to gymnasium class to a gymnasium glass stuffed with telephones and TikTok dances. An #OOTD for Instagram. A dwell from Fb notifying you instantly one thing was happening.

What hasn’t modified a lot? How native information appears. 2 anchors. A set. A meteorologist. Dramatic music. Swooshes on animations. The units received nicer, the expertise appears higher, but there’s a hidden motion taking place exterior of the studio lights.

“I get my information on TikTok”.

When the nail technician advised me that in a latest pedicure, I used to be floored. I quizzed her like a census taker on her information viewing habits. What would make her watch native information on TV? Nothing. She received’t do it. Not even throughout extreme climate? No. The place do you study information apart from TikTok? Stuff that pops up in her social feeds. What about figuring out if the information web site is legit or not? She contemplated if any information was legit.

I defined to her that assertion in phrases she may perceive. I stated, “Think about when you advised somebody you had been a nail tech. They advised you they received’t get their nails completed as a result of these locations unfold fungus. You clarify that your salon has rigorous guidelines and procedures to ensure it’s cleaned after each shopper. They nonetheless don’t consider you. You “all” do this. You go on to say you invested in expertise to ensure the hardest of germs can’t survive. They shrug and say they nonetheless don’t belief you.”

That’s what we’re coping with in native information, I inform her. Her eyes had been large, and her mouth was speechless. She nodded in understanding and eventually stated “That sucks. I get it now.”

Then I noticed this similar matter come up in a Producer Fb Group. Laborious-working broadcast producers telling tales of how they heard somebody say, “I get my information on TikTok.”

For some time, TikTok felt the identical means as strolling into Perpetually 21. I didn’t belong there, I used to be too outdated to be there, and folks assumed I used to be there for my daughter or son, however the doorways had been open.

TikTok customers spend a median of 52 minutes per day on TikTok, based on latest analysis. What would we give for 52 minutes of strong viewing of our broadcast platform each day, proper?


–       1 Billion Month-to-month Lively Customers

–       80 Million Lively Customers in the US

–       80% of Customers are 16-34 Years Previous

–       60% are Feminine, 40% Male

It’s so well-liked that when President Trump threatened to ban TikTok, customers had been Googling “Easy methods to VPN to Canada” so that they didn’t lose their each day dose.

Then I labored at a station that wished a TikTok presence. With solely the information that it’s a spot the place individuals do foolish dances and HR-reporting degree posts, I had no selection however to strive TikTok. For the lifetime of me, as a Gen X’er, all I can hear is “TikTok ya don’t cease” music from the group Shade Me Unhealthy each time I open it. And slightly secret? I’m opening it increasingly more.  

I attempted and I failed. It took some adjusting (and steering from youthful workers) to know it. I attempted and I went viral. God assist me the day I had a TikTok go viral I used to be so excited. I get the “rush”. 2.8 million individuals considered my video. When would I EVER do ANYTHING that will attain that many individuals? The reality is? You’re solely nearly as good as your final viral TikTok.

The benefit of making an attempt “information” or “news-related objects” on TikTok is that you would be able to attempt to fail, and the viewers doesn’t complain about it. If you happen to do a foul TikTok with out the best phrases, tendencies, tune, matter – you simply received’t get views. You strive one thing new on air? That devoted viewers is there with e-mail in hand sending off a nasty observe.

Right here’s one other factor about TikTok I’ve discovered. In a world of second and third display utilization (I favor 3 – TV, Cellular System, Laptop computer), if you find yourself on TikTok, you cease watching TV, or the boiling pot of water for dinner, or the canines. You don’t even hear it. You’re zoned in and centered on what you’re watching. Scroll after scroll after scroll. A grizzly bear may stroll by means of my bed room, and I wouldn’t discover as a result of I’m so centered on the display.

Fb, IG, Twitter – they don’t do this. They’re supplemental choices to the remainder of your setting.

TikTok IS the setting. We, as native information organizations, can’t afford to NOT be on this house.

It’s now the proverbial TV on the dinner desk with the information on from the 80’s. It’s simply a lot greater than that although. It will get a million video views PER DAY. And it’s rising.

We will’t keep away from this house in native information any longer. Right here’s a snapshot of a few of the networks on TikTok and their follower and likes numbers.

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My nail tech knew extra in regards to the Gabby Petito story than I did, although half of what she knew was hypothesis or conspiracy theories. She was prepared to have interaction within the information matter, which is what I noticed because the win. How typically are you able to speak to a 23-year-old a few native information story in depth?

There’s a enjoyable facet of TikTok, which may construct a model or make it laughable. It’s a fragile line. Information anchors doing foolish dances or trending songs can appear a bit “unprofessional” to these both of a sure age or sure perception in journalism. Information anchors or reporters exhibiting their behind-the-scenes antics or how they prepare could be informative and entertaining. Really, simply reporting the information can get you into an area the place a youthful viewers thrives, however you’ve gotta make it compelling to observe.

I as soon as interviewed a candidate and requested, “The place do you see your self in 5 years?”.

The reply? “I wish to be TikTok well-known.”

I dug additional, “However by doing what? What’s your ability, your ‘promote’, your approach, your attraction?”

“I don’t know. I simply wish to be well-known You don’t really want a ability.”

I encourage to vary. TikTok itself is a ability.

I spoke to Melissa Ratliff, Digital Content material Supervisor at WWSB in Sarasota, Florida, and in addition a TikToker who’s cashing in simply utilizing her information of historical past. “I am an enormous nerd. The app principally began as a humorous lip-sync, dancing app however I’ve all the time LOVED storytelling and historical past and it was when one among my historical past movies went viral (sits at 2.4 million views) that I noticed instructional content material was my area of interest. You need to discover the factor that makes you distinctive and financial institution on that for fulfillment.”

You received’t discover me on there doing foolish dances as I’ve completely no coordination. I attempted one for an hour that concerned banging your fists collectively and revealing data and I simply appeared like I used to be swatting away bees. As somebody who works from residence proper now, I hardly ever dress up, and TikTok is the celebration the place EVERYONE is dressed up and searching their finest. Thank God for filters and there are a whole lot of them.

I’m TRYING to get a presence on there if nothing else simply to see what resonates and what doesn’t. What content material lures me in and what makes me scroll.

If you’re new to TikTok, there are “areas” you’ll find yourself in by what you devour and whom you observe. For instance, I like canines – everyone knows this – so I observe plenty of canine accounts. I make plenty of canine movies. So, I’m in “Canine TikTok”. In a random twist, as an 80’s/90’s Gangster rap music lover who thinks tenting is staying on the Pink Roof Inn, I’ve additionally someway ended up in “Nation TikTok”.  I can solely guess that’s as a result of I’m in Nebraska and assumptions are made. There’s “Over 40 TikTok” so that you don’t really feel like a creeper in a youngsters’ world.

Even when you don’t know the platform, regardless of who you’re within the enterprise of journalism, you understand GOOD CONTENT. That’s the one start line you want for any platform on the market. Good Content material is King. You simply must adapt to how the knowledge is offered on display.

Ratliff provides, “When you will have a narrative that’s garnering clickable content material (true crime circumstances and different weird information) you possibly can create content material round these tales. In any other case, the app is so personality-driven that it is an incredible house to make individuals join together with your on-air expertise.”

The Washington Submit has a presence there, often called the “Washington Submit Tik Tok Man”. His title is Dave Jorgenson. Right here’s an article about him and the way he works from Mashable. Ratliff says Jorgenson has paved the way for information on the app.

“It is plenty of studying the room and watching tendencies,” Ratliff says, “Clearly in case you are masking one thing extra severe the tone must match accordingly.”                                

There are individuals from all generations on the platform, from grandmas to youngsters. I requested Ratliff if she thinks having “older” individuals on TikTik was going to scare away the youthful technology as Fb did.

“By no means. It is some of the open-minded and friendliest platforms on the web. The truth is, generations lastly appear to be connecting extra.”   

 You may be pondering at this level, “However there’s no cash there”.


Ratliff has a creator account and raked in sufficient cash to make a down cost on a automotive. There are additionally promotional alternatives throughout the platform, from large bucks to the value of a espresso a day.

However that $500 million greenback reply is for Half 3 of this sequence on “I get my information on TikTok.”

Arising in Half 2, we’re going to speak to some journalism employees who’re spending time on TikTok and strategizing tips on how to combine it within the fold of day-to-day work.

When you’ve got suggestions, questions, or examples of how you’re utilizing TikTok for information, e-mail me at [email protected] or message me right here on LinkedIn. If you wish to provide up a TikTok that went viral you produced, ship me your deal with and I’ll get it within the combine. You’ll be able to observe me on TikTok at @newsbosslady.