Reaching Gen Z: How one conservative education journalist got 141,000 followers on TikTok
Chrissy Clark posts daily TikTok videos on underreported stories, which have earned her a large following particularly among younger Americans.
Clark is a Campus Reform alumna and currently writes for The Daily Caller.
Despite polls that suggest Generation Z leans further to the left than older Americans, one conservative education journalist has managed to gather a large following on TikTok.
Every day, Chrissy Clark, a Campus Reform alumna and current Daily Caller contributor and self-described education reporter, posts minute-long videos on the social media application covering the five underreported news stories that Americans should know.
Clark presently has 141,000 followers and over 2.1 million likes.
Clark told Campus Reform that she initially joined TikTok “just for fun.” But the app’s algorithm eventually led her to “conservative TikTok,” where users make engaging and entertaining videos about politics.
Nevertheless, Clark noticed that conservative reporters do not have a significant presence on the platform.
“I saw that myself and colleagues of mine were publishing big, breaking stories that were often never covered by mainstream news outlets, so I opted to find a way to promote that work by calling them ‘underreported stories,’” she recounted. “They are usually big stories that really don't get the air time that they deserve.”
While journalists may prioritize Facebook and Twitter for distributing their work to followers, Clark does not find those platforms fruitful for reaching Generation Z, or those Americans born between 1997 and 2008.
“Conservatives often claim they want a ‘culture war’ or claim that they want to inspire the next generation of kids, but doing that on Facebook is a waste of time because Gen Z doesn't spend their time on Facebook,” she observed. “Young people are using TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.”
Clark added, “Growing an organic following is also relatively easy on TikTok in comparison to Instagram. The algorithm at TikTok allows like-minded people to see my content quickly.”
In Clark’s experience, Gen Z is far from conservative, but “definitely not about ridiculous progressivism.”
“The progressive voices you see are a minority in comparison to the majority of voices an audience doesn't see or hear from," Clark stated. "Gen Z has definitely taken to some progressive movements without fully embracing everything the movement offers.”
Regardless, Clark said it is “incredibly important” to expose members of Gen Z to conservative thinking."
“If they aren't seeing it in their household, they certainly aren't seeing it in their schools, and the internet or TikTok might be the only way to expose people to conservatism," she said.
But Clark also has liberal followers who appreciate her content.
“I always give Democrats, liberals, and progressives credit where credit is due," she said. "If Joe Biden does something that I would have commended Donald Trump for, I praise the action, not the man. I think followers and Gen Z relate to that and want more of that and that's why my channel has become successful.”
Clark also wants older conservatives to understand that Gen Z is “nuanced.
“They think it's trendy to be independent and have grown up in a political setting more and more accepting of third party candidates,” she explained. “They don't have an allegiance to the Democratic and Republican party, and that's why they cling to people like Rep. Dan Crenshaw or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because, whether you like those people, their approach to politics is often people over party and that's more their speed.”
“I often hear older conservatives wonder why Gen Z ‘doesn't get’ that Republicans will lower taxes and Democrats won't, " Clark continued. "I think Gen Z fully understands that, but they vote outside of the binary decision of Republican and Democrat.”
“They have different priorities,” Clark concluded. “Gen Z's oldest is about 24 to 25 years old. We'll adapt our issues and concerns as we grow.”