The average person spends 147 minutes a day on social media scrolling through random videos, photos, and memes.
Our grandparents will say that this screen time is ruining our social lives and making the new generation unintelligent – and I will be the first to admit that some of the content I consume is pointless and purely for mild entertainment. However, the social media landscape is changing.
Gen Zers (the majority of TikTok users are between 18 and 24 years old) are increasingly using TikTok as a personalized search engine to learn more about the world and broaden their own horizons. TikTok is becoming the main source of information for Generation Z.
Richard Branson once said, “Don’t become a slave to technology – manage your phone, don’t let it manage you.” TikTok is helping Gen Z embrace the mindset of this quote.
Not only do TikTokers learn about the latest money-saving techniques, learn about safe abortions, raise awareness about child safety, and listen to opera music, they also “read the news.” More and more teenagers are turning to social media for their daily news content.
Meet the journalists on Tik Tok who work hard to bring the world’s news to your smartphone in accessible, fast and fun versions.
The explanatory: Sophia Smith Galer
The winner of the British Journalism Awards Innovation of the Year 2021, her site features breaking news and entertaining insights on a variety of topics. She dives deeper into popular media topics to provide clear and insightful explanations. For example, one of her popular videos is titled, “If Boris Johnson has resigned, why is he still a PM?” As of 2020, her TikTok work has become extremely popular, with over 400,000 followers.
The radio station: Victoria Derbyshire
“Your TikTok channel is not ordinary like other news channels. Derbyshire is the only one who speaks with a polite voice and clever gestures in all of her videos. Your way of reciting news will stimulate you to learn more about a particular topic. You can keep up to date with everything happening around the world just by following her and clicking TikTok to get daily notifications.
Isaac Robertson – Fitness trainer and co-founder of Totalshape
Using a newscaster presentation style, Victoria Derbyshire combines television news with social media styles to create memorable, interesting and useful content. The content creator, which focuses on Great Britain, produces popular videos such as “Covid’s on the rise again” or “BREAKING: Russia has attacked Ukraine”.
The Fascinating: Gully Burrows
Burrows is a former Mirror journalist who became one of the world’s most followed journalists on TikTok during the coronavirus pandemic. He is followed by almost half a million people and his videos have been viewed more than 100 million times. Burrows has relocated to Abu Dhabi from London to work as a journalist in the UAE. His most viral videos are The Most Dangerous Places On Earth, Places You Will Never Visit, and What Happens When The Queen Dies. Most of his videos follow one of these three themes, with many parts for each. His quirky, bite-sized messages have captivated Gen Z audiences.
The unlikely TikToker: Max Foster
Max Foster, a CNN journalist, is a frequent user of TikTok, where he shares personal perspectives on current events and shows his behind-the-scenes life as a reporter. His UK-focused TikTok profile connects with his audience through meme-style TikTok sounds to comment on current events. A fan favorite is a video titled ‘British energy bills set to more than double’, in which Foster looks sad while the Titanic theme song plays in the background. This type of video is a brilliant contrast to his other, more serious, news-style videos with light-hearted playfulness. Both styles are equally captivating, which is why he gets between 300,000 and 3 million views for each video.
The Scientific: Cleo Abram
“Cleo Abram is an amazing technology reporter who has produced hugely popular series on topics including NFT, science and crypto. She also uses animation and graphics to further illustrate her points and regularly produces quality content for her followers on TikTok.”
Datha Santomieri – Co-founder of insurance agency Steadily
Abram’s focus on science and technology spans a variety of content topics such as: nuclear fusion explained, artificial wombs, or the big bang. The self-proclaimed independent video journalist’s quiet, calm and clear explanations of complex topics are addictive to anyone. With 1.2 million followers and counting, this handsome science nerd is spreading knowledge on TikTok in a fun and engaging way. If you’ve always wondered why your dog’s age isn’t what you think, follow Cleo Abram.
The anchor voice one: Jeannette Reyes
“I think everyone should check out Jeannette Reyes’ page! She has over 1.2 million followers on TikTok. Jeannette is an Afro-Latina FOX5 morning news anchor and she loves to share a behind-the-scenes look at her life as a journalist. She TikToks her way through her work day, which I find very interesting. She uses her signature journalistic body language to talk about small, everyday things. She is very entertaining and funny and always shares useful content. Highly recommended! “
Cornelius Fichtner – Entrepreneur at PM exam simulator
The American contenter creates short videos from her everyday life, similar to an ordinary TikTok influencer. Instead of highlighting the news, she takes a different route and shares insights into her personal life. She first went viral by posting her famous content, News Anchor Voice. Reyes also creates fun and informative content like The Different Types of Reporters, Random Facts about TV News Life and Morning Sickness: What Worked and What Didn’t. Reyes was even named one of Washingtonian’s DC TikTok Stars.
The behind the scenes: Megan Healy
San Diego-based Megan Healy’s account features a whole host of behind-the-scenes videos – if you’ve always wanted to try reading a prompter or autocue machine, you have the option to try it at home. The Emmy-winning journalist and three-time Golden Mike winner is a weather anchor and reporter for FOX5 San Diego. Much like Jeanette Reyes, Healy gives her nearly 500,000 followers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a television journalist. She also creates light-hearted, funny videos about her job and answers questions about viral videos she’s covered measuring wind speeds and many other aspects of journalism.
The journalist became a PR fighter: Marcio Delgado
Marcio Delgado is a London-based journalist who digs through the weeds of public relations. While “trying to understand PR people,” Delgado shares tips on the dos and don’ts of PR. Delgado is one of the few media professionals to show how the relationship between journalists and communications agencies works. His main topic is how communication teams sometimes make mistakes through shaky press releases and failed sales pitches.
The professionals: Sandra Gathmann
“Sandra Gathmann is the journalist to follow on TikTok. She is a renowned Al Jazeera journalist who uses short videos to explain current events and historical moments that have shaped the world as it is today. With her videos, which last no longer than 12 minutes, she analyzes and explains how issues like the Ukrainian invasion started and why it happened.”
Ryan Yount – Founder of software company LuckLuckGo
Using feature-length videos, Gathmann creates documentary-style, deep explanatory content that focuses on current world events. With only 1,000 followers, she is rising fast in the TikTok news space.
The one who wrote a book about TikTok: Chris Stokel-Walker
UK-based freelance journalist Chris Stokel-Walker is a WIRED contributor and the author of two books on popular social media platforms: YouTuber, on the rise of YouTube and the creator economy, and TikTok Boom, on how TikTok is shaping the future of social media. His work has also appeared in New Scientist, the BBC and The Economist. For his 555 followers, his videos focus on the rules and regulations, history and characteristics of TikTok.
Bonus round: The sustainability experts from TikTok
The Zero Waste: Kathryn Kellogg
The Youtuber-turned-TikToker rose to fame with a viral video of her zero-waste journey, which saw her fitting two years of trash into a single mason jar. Now, Kellogg creates videos about what she’s no longer buying, how to stop wasting food, and sustainable habits and activities. For her nearly 300,000 TikTok followers, Kellogg is a supportive, reassuring presence, urging people to become less wasteful in their everyday lives.
The sustainable one: Morgan Cook
Morgan Cook provides TikTok with unpretentious, aesthetically pleasing content all about sustainability. Knowing what works and what doesn’t, she explores sustainable self-care and household items, and develops inventive ways to be more sustainable.