‘TikTok sometimes makes it difficult for journalism’

To reach generation (Gen) Z, media companies can no longer ignore TikTok. But the platform is not always suitable for journalism. A few news pioneers confirmed this yesterday during Cross Media Café – Gen Z: Breaking the news? in Image and Sound in Hilversum.

Gonnie Spijkstra, deputy chief NOS on 3 and NOS stories, and her team are investigating various platforms to reach a young audience. NOS has recently become active on gamers’ platform Twitch, with a weekly broadcast that can sometimes last more than two hours.

But also on TikTok, where it regularly happens that videos are removed again. “TikTok wants to be a fun and casual platform,” says Spijkstra. “We had an item about the fastest joint-roller in the Cannabis Cup in Thailand, where smoking cannabis has been legalized. That was apparently too controversial. But also an ivasion of crabs in Cuban Bay of Pigs that were run over by cars was not possible. The annoying thing is that TikTok’s policy is not very transparent and we sometimes don’t know why something is being removed.”

Maya-Nora Saaid is a TikTok journalist for the British Middle East Eye. She has gained a lot of experience in using TikTok to involve young people in the news. She also runs into restrictions, as she sometimes cannot avoid posting videos with weapons, although Saaid also wants to show the cultural side of the area. “I thought that the negative image of the region also deserved a different angle. And TikTok is very suitable for that.”

Gen Z is at the forefront of the ongoing shift in media and news consumption. The telephone, social media and push notifications are central to their media use.

Sophie Duvekot, researcher at the HU Journalism Lab, notes that young people like to use the news to talk to their parents. “Sometimes a discussion starts offline and continues online.”

And yes, the smartphone is the most used device. But there is not necessarily a social platform that predominates. Danique Hoekstra, Content Creator at the Leeuwarder Courant for the youth platform LC Now, is concentrating on Instagram for the time being, but the newspaper’s website is also still used for reporting to young people.

EenVandaag has a new interaction team that experiments with all kinds of interaction options around the news and develops a direct relationship with the public. Journalistic web care, audience centered journalism, or simply: interaction as a core quality. “You are a state broadcaster, isn’t it, is a question we get every day,” says Gerson Veenstra, editor-in-chief of EenVandaag. “And then we explain how independent we are.”

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