By Hyun Soo Kim
AAJA-Asia Seoul hosted a workshop titled “TikTok and Reels How-to” in Seoul on May 28, 2022. The event sought to provide participants with tools and techniques to reach new audiences using the short video formats on TikTok and Instagram’s Reels.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, the Washington Post’s Tokyo and Seoul bureau chief, led the first session of the workshop. She shared tips on how to convey the essence of news articles in a short video, as well as on how to balance work as a journalist and content-making.
When turning an article into short-form content, Michelle emphasized that reporters should include a headline and secondary points from the story, then add information only available in their reporting, followed by a caveat. She said she writes scripts for her videos and strives to make sure social media content is consistent with the article it’s based on. While difficult to predict what content will go viral, Michelle said learning the platform and experimenting with various styles will help. Her most popular TikTok video to date, she said, was a short clip on a peaceful anti-Olympics protest in Tokyo that has garnered 1.1 million views.
The second part of the workshop was led by Wanthow, a Seoul-based social media creator who provides tips on creating and editing video content. He has more than 102k followers on Instagram and 117k on TikTok.
Wanthow said short-form content is about making videos that reflect who you are and what you believe is worth sharing with others. He urged participants to answer three questions to create meaningful content: Who am I? Why do I want to make short-form content? How do I begin?
Short-form content can be divided into four types according to Wanthow — content based on empathy, emotion, information and humor. “If you don’t know where to begin, start by creating informational content,” he said. “We all have something original we can share with others.”
Wanthow stressed that content creators should stick to the core idea and values that they had in mind when they set out to make a video, rather than focusing on creating viral content. He encouraged the workshop participants to experiment with diverse types of content and observe how viewers react, noting that he grew his following by challenging himself to create four meaningful TikTok videos a day.
The workshop drew participants from a wide range of careers, from journalists to engineers. A Q&A session followed the presentations, and the workshop ended with a discussion time for participants to share their stories and the types of short-form content they’d like to create in the future.