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Recent media research is increasingly pointing to the fact that younger audiences value reporters who are more authentic on social media. In other words, journalistic content creators who are able to express themselves and be more than just a talking head on a screen reporting the facts.

More and more journalists are creating content on TikTok, with the leading examples being Max Foster at CNN and Sophia Smith Galer at Vice News. These journalist-influencers have developed their own followings through taking their reporting and personalities to the platform.

In return, they often say it helps their journalism, through story leads and building trust with audiences – something the news industry desperately needs. But they typically do this in their spare time, rather than it being a part of their job.

In this week's podcast, we speak to Salla-Rosa Leinonen, producer at the Finnish public broadcaster Yle and the author of a new paper titled 'Can journalists be influencers?' published by the London School of Economics and Politics.

She argues the case for newsrooms to embrace the rise of journalist-influencers, as this can sow the seeds of trust and original reporting. But it is not without ethical challenges around independence, and exacerbating existing perils around online abuse.

As research has also shown deep levels of apathy amongst influencers to counter misinformation on platforms like TikTok, there is a greater need for credible voices to be present on platforms to spread fact-based reporting. Tune in to find out how your newsroom can take the first steps into this space and what to consider.

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