#Storyteller: Episode 107 with the Washington Post’s Dave Jorgenson

You may have seen (and laughed at) one of the Washington Post’s TikTok videos. Dave  Jorgenson is a Creative Video Producer, and the creator and brilliant mind behind the Post’s TikTok account that has more than half a million followers. Jorgeson has carved out a niche on the latest social media platform, as he attracts a new audience to the newspaper’s journalism with bite-sized videos.

Dave joins us for this episode of #Storyteller to walk through his story, his process, and the TikTok best practices he’s learned on the job.



On defining your personality on TikTok:

This is something that was true on YouTube, but I think even more on TikTok, you have to really be yourself. If one video’s successful that was kind of faked, for lack of a better word, people catch on really quickly. I saw recently, these two, I think they’re brothers, they post these videos that look like trick shots. I think at one point someone had called them out. So now, what they do is they post the behind-the-scenes footage of the trick shot, showing how it was faked and then they post the trick shot. Which I think is genius, because then if you find the trick shot first, which is what I did, you’re like ‘woah, how do they do that?’ Then you go to their page, and you immediately find out they are faking this, but they’re totally copping up to it. It’s kind of beautiful. It’s just great that that is the culture of TikTok. We want you to be honest. It’s okay if you’re doing this, but be consistent and don’t lie to us. I think just having that raw, unfiltered approach is really important on TikTok. 


On the collaborative nature of TikTok: 

It’s very collaborative, in a way that anyone that’s been in video, or any video team can appreciate. Any set has like, depending on their budget, 400-500 people. I think TikTok sort of does that in the same way. It’s collaborative in that you just keep adding on. We’ll often use a meme, then we’ll just tack something on at the end just to put our own flair on it. Maybe it’s someone wearing a paper hat or maybe it cuts to an editor, a lot of things I usually do is I do the meme, and then I pull back and I show the office staring at me, like, ‘what the hell is this guy doing?’ and people like that. We’ve now made our version of that, but we’re not telling them that. We’re not telling anyone else on TikTok what they should find funny, we’re just sort of adding to the joke. 


On seeing the potential of TikTok:

For me, I saw the promise in it. I did do a lot of Vine at my old job. We set up a whole account where every debate night, everyone would make 4 or 5 Vines each, based off of funny things that happened. I saw the potential in it and that it could work for a news site. I also just thought, this app is amazing. You can use 15 seconds of virtually any music, without having to worry about royalties, it was fair use. For anyone that likes to edit, and edit good music, that’s a dream. 


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