The coronavirus pandemic has hit the journalism industry hard across the world, with many reporters being forced to change their daily routine while working from home.
However, the Washington Post's video and TikTok journalist Dave Jorgenson is trying to turn the challenge into an opportunity to bring especially the younger audiences a much needed light touch.
"Outside of actual coverage that I’ve sprinkled in, as well as making sure that we’re responsible and that people are getting the right news about coronavirus, I think there’s something about our account being positive and optimistic and people have commented that they need that," says Jorgenson.
He added that although the entire Washington Post team went into ‘quarantine’ last month, he felt a need and a duty to continue to produce content for the platform, as he had promised when creating the account.
There are some limits, however, to what can be done within the confined space of one’s home. Without his colleagues on hand to help with filming, and with his wife also working from home, Jorgenson has set up his iPhone on a tripod to shoot videos from his living room.
Might have to go grab a tripod from the office ... pic.twitter.com/LqxaTuyRCa— Washington Post TikTok Guy 🕺🏼 (@davejorgenson) March 11, 2020
Not being in the office also means he is relying on his old iMac to do video editing, which can sometimes be frustrating.
His apartment’s lighting, he explained, is not as good as in the office but that only adds to the authenticity of the content.
The lockdown has not limited Jorgenson’s ability for creativity, for which he credits new TV shows and movies that are capturing people’s attention while they are forced to stay inside.
"When the Tiger King documentary came out, I was like there’s just so much from this one documentary that I could do, and I think, with people having cabin fever, you’re rewarded right now for being a little loopy and weird."
His co-workers, who embraced the project and got involved regularly before lockdown, have also continued to send Jorgenson ideas and footage for him to include in posts. However, he said that heir contributions can be hard to coordinate because he wants to make sure they shoot it right.
Apart from keeping audiences entertained, the Post’s TikTok account is also helping find story leads about the coronavirus.
"We’re reaching out to a bunch of nurses on TikTok [to talk] about their experiences.
"That was an unexpected value to the account. Now we have access to all these people who know that we’re on TikTok and respect our presence because we seem to get the app.
"I have a lot of sympathy for everything Generation Z has gone through. I feel like every generation has their plight but this group of people has had to grow up super fast.
"Our TikTok is a way for us to show that we know they’re having a wild time too and we want to have fun with it but also recognise that.
"I want people to be aware that this is crazy but let’s go through this together."
Free daily newsletter
- NottinghamshireLive experiments with people-powered journalism
- 13 self-care tips for overworked journalists
- Why ‘slow journalism’ thrived during the pandemic
- Hybrid working is here to stay but journalists need to be "sensible about it"
- How the Financial Times helped its journalists build resilience during the pandemic