Influencer-driven news needs a fact check

Gen Z prefers influencers to journalists

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The Future. These days, Gen Z is more interested in getting the news from influencers than journalists, and that’s had a major effect on what types of stories get shared, how they’re presented, and the rigor in which they’re investigated. With local news circling the drain and influencer culture now a part of mainstream culture, there may be no putting the genie back in the bottle. While that may be leading to a rise in misinformation, legit outlets could stay a guiding force by developing their own personalities who can succeed as digital creators.

Gen Z Tonight
According to Pew, about a quarter of US adults under 30 get their news from TikTok. At the same time, another study by Reuters and the University of Oxford found younger audiences want to get their news from “personalities” rather than traditional outlets or professional journalists.


  • Reasons for the shift include the generation growing up with social media, a general distrust of corporations and legacy media, and a desire to be a part of online communities that focus on their interests. 
  • And by locking onto a few specific influencers, Gen Z audiences report they can filter through an overwhelming number of current events. In other words, if it’s important, it’ll get shared.

The effects of this shift are… well… complicated. The negative consequences are a dime a dozen, like celebrity gossip account DeuxMoi falsely reporting every member aboard the OceanGate submersible was alive, a creator reporting SHEIN didn’t violate labor laws while on a SHEIN-sponsored trip to its factories, or Katy Perry fans believing the rumor the singer had killed a nun (there was no murder, but a nun did die).

But there have also been some positives: V Spehar’s TikTok channel, Under The Desk News, became so popular The Los Angeles Times recruited them to launch their own personality-based TikTok channel, and The Washington Post has found increased reach with Gen Z after launching a slate of personality-based channels.

These days, it’s news as entertainment.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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