In the realm of TikTok, where dance challenges and viral pranks reign supreme, a new genre of content has taken the platform by storm. Breaking through the noise of trending hashtags and viral challenges, a distinguished voice has emerged, reshaping the landscape of news consumption for an entire generation. That voice belongs to Max Foster, a seasoned CNN International anchor who's turned the vertical video platform into his personal newsroom.

Back in 2019, when Foster ventured onto TikTok, he wasn't attempting to ignite a revolution in digital journalism. He was merely a parent trying to comprehend his children's obsession with the latest social media sensation. Yet, the platform that initially appeared to be another digital playground for Gen Z, soon turned into an avenue for Foster to merge his journalistic prowess with the dynamic storytelling inherent to TikTok.


Just as the meteoric rise of digital influencer HugoDécrypte turned heads, Foster’s venture into TikTok has been nothing short of astonishing. Armed with decades of traditional journalism experience and a flair for innovation, Foster began to distill complex news stories into easily digestible, engaging, and, most importantly, authentic content.

The result? A compelling narrative that resonates with a younger audience and an ever-growing follower count that has now crossed the one million mark. Foster is not just another TikTok sensation; he is a beacon of how authenticity can triumph in an age of misinformation.

Foster's path to success hasn't been about silly content or trending dance routines. Rather, he's used the platform to deliver important news stories, bridging the gap between traditional news formats and the digital appetite of Gen Z. This innovative approach to news delivery signifies a shift in the landscape of media consumption, echoing the rise of influencers like HugoDécrypte.

Foster's journey from CNN to TikTok is more than a personal success story; it represents the evolving face of journalism and hints at a future where news consumption blends the integrity of traditional media with the creativity and accessibility of digital storytelling. As he readies to incorporate his TikTok experience into his CNN International program, it's evident that Max Foster isn’t just participating in the digital news revolution, he’s leading it.

Brand vs Personality Case study

We previously looked at the work of Washington Post social media team has been doing on TikTok, lets see how that compares to the style and effect of one person.

Contrasting the situation, The Washington Post boasts a substantial 1.5 million followers on TikTok, yet this battle isn't as straightforward as it appears. After all, we're comparing an established publishing institution with a singular journalistic personality. It's almost the same as comparing a heavyweight boxer with a nimble martial artist; their strengths lie in different areas, yet both are undeniably powerful in their own right.While The Washington Post capitalizes on the recognition of a well-established brand, Foster thrives as an individual. His persona brings a unique touch, adding a layer of authenticity and personal connection that an organization simply can't replicate. His followers don't just subscribe to a news source, they subscribe to Max Foster – the journalist, the individual, the human face behind the news.Part of Foster's charm lies in his affiliation with CNN, a trusted name in global news. This association lends a sense of credibility to his TikTok presence, assuring viewers that the information disseminated is accurate and reliable. Unlike an unverified blogger or a random influencer, Foster carries the weight of CNN’s journalistic integrity, which significantly enhances his appeal and the trust his audience places in him.

Moreover, his transition from a traditional news platform to a more contemporary one showcases his adaptability and innovative thinking, further enhancing his appeal, particularly among younger audiences. Being able to deliver news in the native language of the TikTok platform – one that is concise, relatable, and engaging – Foster has managed to tap into a demographic that traditional news outlets often struggle to reach.

Why and How it works for Max Foster

His journey exemplifies how individual journalists can leverage their professional credibility and personal appeal to create a dynamic digital persona that resonates with the new generation. In the context of the evolving media landscape, Foster's TikTok success story provides valuable insights for both journalists and media organizations navigating the digital space.

Personal connection: Foster often directly addresses his viewers and responds to their comments, building a two-way communication channel that fosters trust and intimacy. Brands can recreate this by having journalists host their videos and engage directly with viewers, rather than just broadcasting impersonal news pieces.


#rishisunak #seatbelt #police #cars

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Contextual storytelling: Foster excels in explaining complex news stories by weaving them into the broader context of global events or trends, making it easier for his viewers to understand and relate to them. Brands can adopt this technique by linking their news coverage to the bigger picture, effectively communicating why their audience should care about a given topic.


#russia #putin #ukraine

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Leveraging Trends: Foster often employs popular TikTok trends to convey news stories in an engaging way. Media brands can similarly keep an eye on trending challenges, music, or video formats, creatively incorporating these into their content to make it more appealing.


#stitch with @Francis Bourgeois #princewilliam #princeifwales #princessofwales #royal #tube #londonunderground #train

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

Bite-sized reporting: One of Foster's key strengths is his ability to condense a complex news story into a bite-sized, digestible piece of content. This skill is particularly effective on TikTok, where users prefer short, concise content. Media brands can take this trait, focusing on delivering compact yet informative pieces that hold viewers' attention.


SVB was one of America’s 20 largest commercial banks and is now under the control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after it became unable to pay back customers who withdrew their deposits. It had bet on low interest rates, but they started rising. #svb #bank #banking #finance #money #market

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

The CNN Factor: Foster leverages his professional affiliation with CNN to build credibility. Media brands, with their established reputation, can play on this advantage even further. By emphasizing their journalistic experience and track record, they can bolster viewer trust and loyalty.


Trial organised by 4 Day Week Global w: Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, CambridgeUniversity, OxfordUniversity, BostonCollege. #worklifebalance #work #workingweek #stress #mentalhealth

♬ original sound - Max Foster (news journalist)

To sum up, Max Foster's success on TikTok can be attributed to a unique blend of personal charm, adaptability, and the credibility of his professional affiliation with CNN. He’s capitalized on these assets to master the art of vertical journalism, building an impressive audience base that rivals major publishers on the platform.

So what?

By taking inspiration from Foster's success and adopting a more personal, engaging, and creative approach to content creation, media brands can significantly enhance their appeal and impact on platforms like TikTok. With the right blend of authenticity, innovation, and journalistic rigor, they can forge a strong connection with their audience, much like Max Foster has done.

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