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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards


Finalist in TikTok Presence


NowThis has a singular mission: to make news engaging and relevant for young adults by humanizing our complicated world. As the #1 most-watched news brand globally on social [Tubular Labs, March 2021], with a massive and growing following on platforms dominated by Gen Z and Millennials, NowThis’ video-first, social media-native approach allows the outlet to meet young audiences where they are with digestible news uniquely tailored to each social media platform. With a newsroom by young people for young people covering the issues that matter, NowThis has built its brand as a first-mover on emerging social platforms, with coverage that inspires huge audience growth and engagement.  

What sets NowThis apart is its video-first, social media-native approach that allows the outlet to meet young audiences where they are with digestible news uniquely tailored to each social media platform, including emerging social platforms like TikTok. Moreover, NowThis’ unique, person-first approach to covering critical issues and dedication to uplifting young changemakers has made for compelling content that racks up millions of views each month. 

The goal with daily TikTok coverage and the VIRAL series has been to inform, engage, and inspire young audiences with innovative coverage of the most pressing issues of the day. NowThis’ informative, factual coverage also aims to make sure young audiences see themselves reflected in the content, allowing the outlet to build huge trust and brand equity among Millennial and Gen Z news consumers. 

Strategy and Execution

With explainers, fact-checks, news of the day, and in-platform interviews with high-profile leaders like Senator Sherrod Brown, NowThis has the agility to rapidly translate news coverage and build scale on social platforms like TikTok as they emerge. Moreover, by mastering tactics on this short-form, vertical platform like the use of voiceovers, rapidly changing visuals, and compelling visual and narrative hooks before pivoting to educational content, NowThis is able to stop thumbs and foster huge engagement. For example, NowThis created a piece showing a barber shaving his head in solidarity with his friend experiencing chemotherapy. By opening with a moving story and pivoting to an explainer on why chemotherapy causes hair loss, NowThis was able to both connect with and educate audiences. 

NowThis launched a new live series in partnership with TikTok called VIRAL, the platform’s first-ever series on public health education and first live episodic series with a publishing partner. Hosted by Laurel Bristow, an experienced infectious disease clinical researcher who has dedicated the last year to working on COVID-19 treatments and research, VIRAL was a weekly interactive series that featured interviews from public health experts and live Q&A with the TikTok community, answering their questions about the pandemic. 

TikTok is constantly evolving and it takes a nimble publisher to keep up with what works and what doesn't. At NowThis, we adjust our strategy regularly to adapt and grow with our audience. With a collaborative approach to the platform, but often limited bandwidth as a team, our approach to experimentation had to be laser-focused. We had to prioritize quality over volume to succeed in the space. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also brought unique challenges to the production of our TikTok show, VIRAL. It was a remote production, but our agility on social platforms and our ability to create compelling high-quality content from anywhere is in our DNA.


In less than two years, NowThis has built a formidable presence on TikTok. NowThis has amassed over 6.4 million followers (growing 52% in 2021 with 1.2M new followers added) on its news, politics, and earth channels, making it the largest news outlet on TikTok over INSIDER (4.4M), BuzzFeed (3.6M), VICE (1.36M), Washington Post (1.2M), and others. Most recently, NowThis' two main TikTok accounts got over 160M views in August 2021. 

As a leader on TikTok, NowThis hosted the 2021 SXSW featured session “How GenZ Duets the News on TikTok” to highlight the strategy that keeps young audiences engaged with news content on the platform, and was highlighted by Business Insider as having two of the top five fastest-growing accounts on the platform. Most recently, the NowThis TikTok team won Best Social Media Team at the 2021 Shorty Phenom Awards


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