The opportunities are endless when it comes to using TikTok as a journalist, says Rebecca Carey.
Rebecca is an SEO journalist for Newsquest, working with regional titles around the UK, creating search-friendly digital content and tapping into trends leading the national conversation.
The 24-year-old, from Linlithgow in Scotland, spends her time finding out what people are talking about and what they’re asking questions about in order to create content.
She’s also using TikTok to connect with Newsquest’s audience and to give them what they want to know.
Rebecca said: “TikTok is a great platform to explain things in quick and accessible chunks. People want to know something as quickly as possible – they don’t want to read long and wordy articles.
“So that’s where TikTok comes in – it’s a blend between content and journalism. The amazing thing about the platform is that it is a great communication tool.”
Rebecca started using TikTok for ‘news explainers’ during her NCTJ journalism training at Glasgow Clyde College.
She said: “I wanted to explain the news and environmental issues, which interested me.
“That’s one of the reasons I am in my job now, by playing about with TikTok. My boss wants to grow that area and the social media team. It’s an area where newsrooms have been slow to get behind but the opportunities are endless.”
As well as creating content from the latest trending searches, Rebecca is part of the team behind the newly-launched ‘We try things on TikTok’, which includes product reviews and advertorials.
She said: “It’s very new and we are playing about with it. Already having the knowledge about TikTok has given me a leg-up. I think if you are already playing about with that sort of stuff, then just go for it – don’t wait for somebody else to tell you what to do.”
Although Rebecca has been in the role for a year, she has yet to step into a newsroom as the pandemic has meant that her role is so far fully remote. She said she felt that her training at Glasgow Clyde College helped her to prepare for the challenges of remote working.
She said: “I was really fortunate that the college was continuing to offer the course online.
“As stressful as it was to learn remotely, I think it really fast-tracked my digital skills. It was an intense course and very different, though I am grateful for it. Now that I work remotely, if I hadn’t studied journalism remotely, then it would have been quite a large adjustment for me.”
After completing her training, she carried out work experience at the Scottish Sun and wrote articles for different free sites, before being contacted by a recruitment agency for her current job.
She said: “Google Trends and Twitter are my best friends. My job is all about writing about what people want to know about and the conversations they are having.
“It’s a lot of fun and no day is the same. I have always been curious and have been asking questions, and there is no better job than journalism for that.”