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404 by L.A. Times

Finalist in News & Media


404 by L.A. Times is where everything extremely L.A. and everything extremely online crash together and create something new.

Launched in June 2022 as the first-of-its-kind collective in any major U.S. newsroom, 404 is a group of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer) who believe in the untapped potential of social media and its power to shape the world around us. With the goal of meeting younger, more diverse audiences where they are, 404 is ushering in a new era of audience engagement at the Los Angeles Times and rewriting the rulebook for how a “paper” exists online.

Ultimately, the team’s core mission is to serve young, diverse audiences that might not otherwise interact with traditional news media. The members of our small team are emblematic of the audiences we center: We’re extremely online and have a diversity of backgrounds, skill sets and perspectives that reflect our rapidly growing community. We understand that now, more than ever, younger generations rely on social media as a primary source of news, but we also know that misinformation runs rampant on these platforms. 404 aims to become a trusted source of reliable journalism to local Gen Z and Millennials who are more likely to get their news from a content creator on TikTok than they are to pick up a newspaper.


Strategy: We leverage the strength of a uniquely skilled team to create cutting-edge journalism that gives home to the passionate, engaged community of L.A.’s culture-makers, through content that serves and reflects the diverse and unique city we live in.

Execution: Our mission is three-fold: to reach our audience through social-first content that meets them wherever they are online, to create content that sparks mass engagement at scale and to build thriving community among the 404 audience and beyond. Each facet of this mission is woven into the fabric of our storytelling. 404 by L.A. Times takes on the world with curiosity, radical thinking and an audaciously experimental spirit. Our work is concise and well-informed, yet down to earth. Unafraid to challenge the status quo, we are deeply committed to journalistic ethics and integrity. Our team reflects the audiences we serve. We are Millennials and Gen Z Angelenos of all walks of life: We are journalists of color, women journalists and LGBTQ+. 

In a digital landscape littered with hollow content and misinformation, we offer an accessible alternative. Through a “studiously unpolished” video editing style, captivating images, thought-provoking memes or the latest emerging tech, we craft the news for an audience that craves accurate, researched and accessible information, using the internet as our canvas. Here are just some examples: 


We measure success by closely tracking analytics (i.e. impressions, reach, follower growth, engagement, etc.), in addition to direct feedback from our community.

Since our official launch less than two years ago, 404 has rapidly grown our audience. On Instagram, we’ve gained more than 60,000 followers, with a growth rate of 271% in the last year alone. In 2023, our Instagram Reels, carousels, and memes received more than 38 million impressions and a reach of about 8.4 million unique accounts.

Between January 2023 and mid-December 2023, 404’s TikTok account gained about 40,000 new followers and reached more than 6.7 million unique users. Our TikTok videos garnered more than 8 million views and more than 980,000 engagements (including likes, comments and shares).

We’ve also received extremely positive feedback directly from our audiences via comments, messages, and Instagram story mentions. For example:

“Sometimes I contemplate how insane this city is and then I get on Instagram, where 404 teaches me another thing about L.A. that makes me understand this place a liiiiittle bit more.”

“Love yall’s work keep bolstering the community with news that digestible and educational”

“The journalism I needed 🙏 thanks guys for the reporting!”

“I hope this TikTok wins a Pulitzer”

The overall sentiment of the feedback we received from our community tells us that our social-first reporting is informative, engaging and innovative. Our presence on Instagram and TikTok continues to have a positive impact on the communities we set out to center.


Video for 404 by L.A. Times

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Los Angeles Times


Entry Credits