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Jan. 26, 2023, 12:41 p.m.
Audience & Social

@nytimes is now on TikTok

“nytimes on the tok?! 🤩”

On March 21, 2007, The New York Times announced itself on Twitter: “Word up! It is I, the Gray Lady, with a ‘shoutout’ to all my hip young friends. Just wanted you to know I’ve added new specialized feeds.”

“It was very important to me when I was writing that tweet that even though the metaphorical Gray Lady would try to use slang, it was still very proper grammar,” Jacob Harris, the Times developer behind the Twitter account, told Nieman Lab in 2017. “‘It is I’ versus ‘It’s me.’ It’s like the Queen trying to use slang. It had to be that combination of fusty and fashionable.”

Fast-forward to January 2023. The queen is no longer with us, and corporate social media has undergone a vibe shift. When The New York Times launched its flagship TikTok this week, on January 24, it started with hard news, featuring Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old who disarmed a gunman at a dance hall in Alhambra, California.

@nytimes

A mass shooting at a popular ballroom shocked a small community east of Los Angeles. The police praised a man as a hero after he disarmed the gunman at a second dance hall. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the massacre at Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022.

♬ original sound – The New York Times

The Times is a few years behind other publishers in creating a flagship TikTok account but already had some subbrands on the platform, including NYT Cooking and the Hard Fork podcast. It’s looking to hire social media video journalists. And it’s published three more TikToks. Topics: “A Times reporter and photographer rode along with a team gathering data on the colossal atmospheric rivers that have drenched California,” “A barrage of gun violence left the nation’s most populous state groping for answers on Tuesday as the death toll from back-to-back mass shootings in California rose to at least 19 people in less than three days,” and “The deadly trek to the U.S. through the Darién gap.”

“nytimes on the tok?! 🤩” Brut, a mobile-first video publisher, wrote.

The Times’ official TikTok account had 747 followers as of Thursday morning.

Laura Hazard Owen is the editor of Nieman Lab. You can reach her via email (laura_owen@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@laurahazardowen).
POSTED     Jan. 26, 2023, 12:41 p.m.
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