Taylor Lorenz: Bringing TikTok To The Times

Taylor Lorenz is one of the few accredited journalists to provide coverage on influencers, content creators, and social media stars in a genuine way. Her articles reflect the changes in culture and latest trends within the metaverse of social media apps and discord servers. Her work as a journalist has resulted in both coverage and criticism, which places her on the level of other culturally-divisive journalists like Diane Sawyer and Hunter S. Thompson.

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Lorenz has provided an essence of legitimacy for social media stars who have become celebrities outside of the traditional avenues of film, television, or music. She has written about collectives like the Hype House and the Nelk boys, but has also focused on trends within the platforms themselves as showcased in her recent article on text-based meme pages of Instagram which has garnered its own virality. Through her work at the New York Times, as well as a series of other respectable publications, Lorenz has provided validity to content creators, while simultaneously establishing herself as one of the leading, informative, and engaging journalists of the modern era.

Covering the Creators

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Traditionally, social media stars generated their own news through viral hashtags and feuds with other content creators. But websites like TubeFilter and FamousBirthdays started to treat the young creators with a celebrity statues, filling in fans on their lives, drama, and decisions. One writer from The Atlantic and The Hill started to gain attention due to her serious coverage of the influencers.

Lorenz was was raised in Old Greenwich, Connecticut and attended a Swiss boarding school before before attending the University of Boulder, Colorado and later Hobart and William Smith College. She started gaining attention for her journalism as a writer for Daily Mail, Business Insider, and the Daily Beast. Having been active on Tumblr, Lorenz related to the content creators and offered a fresh perspective on a subject and group of people often overlooked by mainstream press outlets. Lorenz was also not afraid to put her life on the line, attending the deadly Charlottesville march and providing coverage for the press outlet The Hill. The New York Times took notice of Lorenz’s ability to fill a void that they had seemingly overlooked and in September of 2019, they offered her a job as an American culture and technology reporter.

The New York Times

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Lorenz quickly earned the spotlight after publishing several articles in the New York Times. Her early articles centered around popular YouTube stars like the Paul brothers who often find themselves in controversy as well as TikTok collected like the Hype House and the Sway House. It was her articles on TikTok that solidified herself as a contemporary journalist, diving deep in the ‘TikTok Elite’ and coverage of whether the US was going to ban the app altogether.

In addition to TikTok, Taylor also entered controversy with her coverage of Clubhouse. The short lived app that thrived during the pandemic featured conversations between creators and friends that an exclusive group of users could listen to. But these vaguely private conversations started appearing in print as Lorenz would listen in to the public-but-still-somewhat-private chatrooms. The decision to report on the meetings landed Lorenz in hot water and controversy.

Lorenz also found herself accidentally in a journalistic bout with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who chose to dox Taylor during one of his programs, encouraging fans to message the reporter and discounted her own personal experiences. Lorenz was defended by the Times as well as several other media outlets.

Lorenz navigated out of the controversy and back into public discussion when her article about the TikTok army the White House had choreographed to help with pro-vaccine campaigns. The above-the-fold story earned a wide range of additional press coverage.

Substack

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In addition to The Times, Lorenz also signed a book deal with legendary publisher Simon & Schuster for Extremely Online: Gen Z, the Rise of Influencers, and the Creation of the New American Dream. This brought more attention to Lorenz, eventually landing her a spot on Fortunes 2020 “40 Under 40” list. Other accomplishments include Adweeks, ‘2020 Young Influentials Who Are Shaping Media, Marketing, and Tech’ and credit for having popularized the now iconic dismissal “Ok Boomer.”

Having leveraged her success and journalistic integrity, Lorenz has joined many other journalists on the move over to Substack. The independent platform, a Spotify for journalists, or a Patreon for writers, publishes Taylor Lorenz’s newsletters which feature early releases of her New York Times articles as well as a variety of other published and unpublished content. Lorenz is only one of many journalists who have made a name for themselves on the platform including Jerry Banfield, Glenn Greenwald, and Bari Weiss.

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With newspapers and press outlets migrating online, and journalism fizzling out as a profitable profession, Taylor Lorenz has been able to navigate her career to have an equal amount of fame as some of her TikTok-star subjects. She has established her own field and sub-genre within the career, and found her own unique voice in the process. With innovative articles, a keen eye for rising stars, and a hand on the pulse of trending culture, Lorenz has solidified herself as not only the great social-media-based journalist, but also as one of the most well-respected young professionals within the field.

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