AS ABS-CBN News’ reporter for the travel, transportation and infrastructure beats, Jacque Manabat juggles a lot of work in her daily grind, but there is one thing that keeps her occupied during her downtime: TikTok.
No, she isn’t busy busting a move to the latest dance challenges or lip-synching to funny skits on the short-form videosharing platform. Instead, she produces videos that aim to make news look cool again and promote media literacy.
“What I’m trying to do is not just present the news in a fun or entertaining way, but also for media literacy na rin. Sometimes they do not understand what our job is, so I felt the need na ipakita sa kanila na this is what we are doing behind the camera,” she explains.
Jacque says her presence on TikTok was born out of sheer curiosity about why the shared videos in the platform have so much engagement from users.
“I think what we’re seeing here is very much in line with Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, which all started as something ephemeral, something fun. And then we realized that the platform is viable and complex and can take on serious topics,” she shares.
“I think the audience right now—news and TikTok, kahit ano’ng platform pa ‘yan—I think they’re looking for authenticity, they’re looking for a genuine presenter of the news,” she adds.
Jacque tries to post daily before or after “TV Patrol.” The logic behind this schedule, she clarifies, is to encourage audiences to check out her full and detailed reports shown on the newscast, as well as interest them in what happened behind the production of the story.
But as much as she relishes the traction that she’s been gaining on TikTok to convey relevant information to her followers (along with extra perks like finding a case study for a broadcast report), Jacque is very much aware of the challenges posed by her sudden popularity on the platform.
“TikTok has a wide social media audience na tingin ko hindi pa natin nae-explore in journalism. Pero ito ‘yung fear ko if I jump into TikTok too quickly, I could end up looking like a ‘cool tita’ trying to sit at the kids’ table na parang, ‘O, sino ka ba, bakit nandito ka sa table namin?’ So right now, I’m trying to work to earn the trust of the TikTok community,” she says.
For journ’s sake
“They have a dream of ‘Gusto naming makialam, gusto naming maging in sa balita but we don’t know how.’ They’re actively looking to learn more but tingin nila merong wall. That’s what I see, and I think TikTok can actually show people just how much work goes into a story dahil nakikita nila na ‘Ah, ganun pala ‘yung paggawa ng story, ganun pala ‘yung nangyari,’” she explains.
The Kapamilya journalist is quick to make clear though that even if TikTok has been helpful to her in more ways than one, the reason she wanted to explore it in the first place is still journalism.
“TikTok doesn’t replace the journalism. It is an opportunity to find more sources, to reach out to more audiences, reach diverse communities that we may not reach otherwise,” she clarifies.
“I want to show that ABSCBN News is here for them kahit nasaan pa sila, lalo na for the voiceless, ‘yung mga nawalan ng tinig. Para maramdaman nila na andito tayo para sa kanila,” she says.
Story and photo contributed via ABS-CBN’s eFrequency on Yammer