Monika Plaha never planned to get big on TikTok. She assumed people were only there for “dancing, singing, or something really silly.” But after joining the platform in the middle of the 2020 lockdown, the BBC Look North presenter discovered people were fascinated about her job and how she got there. Now, more than 200 videos later, she has over 81,000 followers and more than two million likes.
“The audience just built,” she tells Journo Resources. “And there were questions, and there were interactions and people wanted to know how I got into this profession.” While she hadn’t thought of it before, she realised that if she were younger, she too might have found the videos of her day-to-day as a journalist fascinating. What’s more, there is a growing appetite for news on TikTok. “It’s been quite special and quite unique, really. I didn’t realise that [I’d be] helping people with the videos I’m posting.”
Monika uses her TikTok account to give insights into working as a journalists.
But, helping inspire the next generation isn’t the only reason you should be on TikTok. As Laura Garcia told us in a previous Journo Resources event, while platforms might “come and go very quickly, other ones like TikTok are going to start triggering changes in other spaces.” Just look for example, at the introduction of Instagram Reels, seen by many as a direct response to TikTok. “If you don’t follow the progression of how people create these communities, how people talk to each other in these communities, how we can use them to news gather and also to story tell, then it’s going to be harder and harder to catch up.”
For ITV journalist Mojo Abidi, using the platform has been a “learning curve” which has allowed her to improve her presenting and editing skills – all things she uses day to day in her job working on ITV’s The Rundown. Mojo posts bite-sized updates on all kinds of stories, from a woman who married the colour pink to people spending a quarter of a million on virtual clothes. Mojo also believes the app is helping her reach new audiences: “By doing news on TikTok we’re challenging ourselves to give news to young people in a way that meets their style of media consumption.”