From CNN to TikTok - the story of Max Foster the viral vertical journalist

May 23, 2023

In the realm of TikTok, where dance challenges and viral pranks reign supreme, a new genre of content has taken the platform by storm. Breaking through the noise of trending hashtags and viral challenges, a distinguished voice has emerged, reshaping the landscape of news consumption for an entire generation. That voice belongs to Max Foster, a seasoned CNN International anchor who's turned the vertical video platform into his personal newsroom.

Back in 2019, when Foster ventured onto TikTok, he wasn't attempting to ignite a revolution in digital journalism. He was merely a parent trying to comprehend his children's obsession with the latest social media sensation. Yet, the platform that initially appeared to be another digital playground for Gen Z, soon turned into an avenue for Foster to merge his journalistic prowess with the dynamic storytelling inherent to TikTok.

Why and How it works for Max Foster

His journey exemplifies how individual journalists can leverage their professional credibility and personal appeal to create a dynamic digital persona that resonates with the new generation. In the context of the evolving media landscape, Foster's TikTok success story provides valuable insights for both journalists and media organizations navigating the digital space.

Personal connection: Foster often directly addresses his viewers and responds to their comments, building a two-way communication channel that fosters trust and intimacy. Brands can recreate this by having journalists host their videos and engage directly with viewers, rather than just broadcasting impersonal news pieces.

@maxfostercnn

#rishisunak #seatbelt #police #cars

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Contextual storytelling: Foster excels in explaining complex news stories by weaving them into the broader context of global events or trends, making it easier for his viewers to understand and relate to them. Brands can adopt this technique by linking their news coverage to the bigger picture, effectively communicating why their audience should care about a given topic.

@maxfostercnn

#russia #putin #ukraine

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Leveraging Trends: Foster often employs popular TikTok trends to convey news stories in an engaging way. Media brands can similarly keep an eye on trending challenges, music, or video formats, creatively incorporating these into their content to make it more appealing.

@maxfostercnn

#stitch with @Francis Bourgeois #princewilliam #princeifwales #princessofwales #royal #tube #londonunderground #train

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Bite-sized reporting: One of Foster's key strengths is his ability to condense a complex news story into a bite-sized, digestible piece of content. This skill is particularly effective on TikTok, where users prefer short, concise content. Media brands can take this trait, focusing on delivering compact yet informative pieces that hold viewers' attention.

@maxfostercnn

SVB was one of America’s 20 largest commercial banks and is now under the control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after it became unable to pay back customers who withdrew their deposits. It had bet on low interest rates, but they started rising. #svb #bank #banking #finance #money #market

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

The CNN Factor: Foster leverages his professional affiliation with CNN to build credibility. Media brands, with their established reputation, can play on this advantage even further. By emphasizing their journalistic experience and track record, they can bolster viewer trust and loyalty.

@maxfostercnn

Trial organised by 4 Day Week Global w: Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, CambridgeUniversity, OxfordUniversity, BostonCollege. #worklifebalance #work #workingweek #stress #mentalhealth

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

To sum up, Max Foster's success on TikTok can be attributed to a unique blend of personal charm, adaptability, and the credibility of his professional affiliation with CNN. He’s capitalized on these assets to master the art of vertical journalism, building an impressive audience base that rivals major publishers on the platform.

So what?

🥇By taking inspiration from Foster's success and adopting a more personal, engaging, and creative approach to content creation, media brands can significantly enhance their appeal and impact on platforms like TikTok. With the right blend of authenticity, innovation, and journalistic rigor, they can forge a strong connection with their audience, much like Max Foster has done.


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