Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed News has begun a nationwide search for a few teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 to become “Teen Ambassadors” who will create original TikTok and Instagram videos to supplement the site’s 2020 election coverage.

From the job description:

BuzzFeed News is seeking high school or first year college students with a gift for online storytelling for an exciting, paid opportunity to be a part of our election coverage.

This is a chance to use our huge audience to create meaningful conversations about US politics. The ideal candidate should be creative, passionate about the upcoming election, and eager to show what 2020 means for them and their peers. Ambassadors will collaborate with BuzzFeed News editors to hone their news judgement and learn best practices for engaging and growing a social audience.

While having a following already is not a must, we are looking for candidates who already have some experience making creative content or an eye for what works.

Sara Yasin, BuzzFeed News’ director of news curation, told Nieman Labs that the teen ambassadors will be chosen to make weekly videos for TikTok or Instagram stories based on their passion for political issues and creative storytelling abilities. (No YouTube: Yasin said making a quality YouTube video would be too time-consuming for the teenagers, who’ll likely be enrolled in high school or their freshman year of college, as the job description mentions.)

“The things they’ll be crafting will be held to a journalistic standard,” Yasin said. “But they don’t necessarily have to be someone who is aspiring to be a journalist.” She cited the teens creating micro-history lessons on TikTok as one example of the creativity she hopes to see from applicants.

The ambassadors will work remotely from swing states or “other places that might be overlooked in the nationwide political conversation,” and are expected to create at least one video for Instagram stories or TikTok per week from the end of March through the election.  They will be paid an unspecified stipend and could possibly receive academic credit for their work.

While this project may appeal to Gen Z, it also gives ammunition to those that feel that BuzzFeed News isn’t a legitimate news operation by hiring untested and teens — although they will be trained to provide journalistic content.

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