In this report, Polis/Yle Newsroom Fellow Salla-Rosa Leinonen explores the opportunities of what ‘influencer’ style journalism can bring to the newsroom. The report examines if it’s possible for journalists and news organisations to learn lessons from ‘influencers’ about how to engage with the public in personal, direct ways to gain credibility with ‘hard to reach’ audiences.
The views in this paper reflect those of the author and are not necessarily those of Yle, Polis, or LSE.
Social media ‘influencers’ have a growing significance in our mediated lives. ‘Influencers’ can have huge followings that are loyal, devoted and attentive. Generally, people follow the kind of ‘influencers’ who reflect and reinforce their own values and beliefs. Social media is animated by emotions and ‘influencers’ have the ability to make you feel like you belong.
Traditional news and current affairs content, generally, does not make you feel connected or impart a sense of belonging in the same direct, personal way. For much of the news media this would be seen as potentially compromising the impartiality and professionalism of journalism.
But is it possible for journalists and news organisations to learn lessons from ‘influencers’ about how to engage with the public, without losing their independence and authority? And in what ways could they gain credibility with ‘hard to reach’ audiences by adopting strategies inspired by ‘influencers’?
This paper explores the opportunities of what ‘influencer’ style journalism could bring to your newsroom. It also defines what is a ‘journo-influencer’, how to recognise them and what kind of challenges we face in journalism when working like ‘influencers’.
Salla-Rosa Leinonen is a Producer working for the Finnish Public Broadcaster Yle. She specialises in social media storytelling aimed at young ‘hard to reach’ audiences. Her aim is to create news, documentaries and factual content that is accessible and engaging to diverse groups of people. At the youth media brand Yle Kioski, she works with Finland’s most talented young reporters and video journalists who create ‘journo-influencer’ style content. Over 500 000 young Finns see Yle Kioski’s content weekly on social platforms. Contact: email@example.com
This paper was produced as part of the Polis Newsroom Fellowship scheme supported by Yle. Polis is the international journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics. This project was overseen by Polis director, Professor Charlie Beckett. The views in this paper reflect those of the author and are not necessarily those of Yle, Polis or the LSE.