How journalists use social media to explain Argentina’s economy

Argentina’s economy is extremely complicated to understand for foreigners and locals alike.

It goes beyond the ever-rising prices that have put the country on track to reach 100% annual inflation by the end of 2022 and the policy changes the government is frequently announcing to try to contain the crisis.

Somehow, Argentines are also expected to navigate a wide menu of exchange rates – namely the official rate and its taxes, the parallel market and a multitude of others, depending on the industry.

It is also not easy for journalists to explain this confusing economy. However, some reporters have turned to social media to produce quick, engaging explanations of what is happening. They use a variety of formats to do this – Instagram stories, short videos on TikTok, and YouTube channels to name a few.

If you’re also thinking of using social media to explain the economy or other important issues in your country, here are some tips and cautionary tales to keep in mind.

journalism by other means

Estefanía Pozzo, an Argentine journalist specializing in economics and finance, understands that communication is an ever-changing ecosystem. Platforms, she said, are “changing the way people receive and consume information.” On social media, not only is everything instantaneous, but these platforms “serve many different needs simultaneously: information, opinion, analysis and debate,” she explained. “Communities and references can be created that allow for more personal storytelling.”

Compared to starting your own outlet, creating social media content requires a much simpler infrastructure. “If you have a cell phone with an internet connection and a camera, you can start communicating. But it’s not easy and not everything can appeal to a mass audience,” said economist and journalist Candelaria Botto.

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For Botto, using social media to explain Argentina’s complex economy came naturally. “I’m part of a generation that grew up on MSN Messenger, Fotolog and Facebook, so it all just felt organic,” she explained. Botto decided to share her knowledge in a space she was already familiar with. That started with Twitter.

Business reporter Sofía Terrile turned to social media due to her work on television. “A lot of people started following my personal accounts and I wanted to professionalize them. I realized I had an audience to talk to because they were already following me on TV, an audience that was interested in business issues,” she said.

A faster, more direct environment

On social media, your work depends on you. You can work faster and discuss issues while interacting with other people, Pozzo said. She is on Twitter and Instagram and has started her own channel on YouTube, which is the platform she finds most interesting. Pozzo believes all of these formats are powerful and accessible — it’s important, she said, to prioritize quality information about them while producing compelling storytelling.

Social media gave Botto more freedom—not just editorially, but also in the variety of formats she could use to express herself and reach people. “There [are] direct answers, comments, replies. I can say something [my followers] are curious [in] Argentina’s economy,” she explained.

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Botto took a more critical, questioning tone on Twitter, though she didn’t garner much engagement on the platform. She found it more confrontational to stand on one side against the other. “In that sense, Instagram is friendlier,” she said.

Botto started making lengthy videos under the “Candesplaining” label — a YouTube approach, but on Instagram. When the Meta-owned platform abandoned the IGTV format, it was forced to change its strategy. She created “Cande al rescate” (Cande to the rescue, in Spanish) using the app’s question sticker. “I also tried Reels but explain [everything] in a minute and a half is tough,” she said.

Don’t be afraid to innovate: Botto emphasized that platforms are dynamic and user consumption changes over time. “I put the shoes on them and I think maybe they’re tired of the format. It’s necessary to be able to adapt,” she said.

Social media formats require faster, shorter content, Terrile noted. She uses simple language and focuses on capturing the audience’s attention with a brief prompt.

@sofiterrile Dólar, dólar, dólar 🇦🇷 Apostemos: cuál es el que sigue? 🧞‍♀️ #tiktokteinforma #tiktokargentina #noticias #argentina ♬ sunroof – Nicky you are & dazy

To learn the basic tools, Terrile recommended starting with a video editor: “CapCut is very easy to use.” She also suggested using Canva to create title templates.

Findings for the design of your reporting

Social media allows for direct feedback, which may not always be the case when you work in print or television. By looking at their followers’ questions, reporters can get a sense of what their information needs are. This is telling data, Botto said.

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Examples of frequently asked questions are the US dollar (always an important topic for Argentines), inflation, taxes and electricity prices. Some also want to understand the gross domestic product better.

Terrile and Botto are also asked about personal investments. They try not to answer these questions as they are beyond their expertise. However, this interest can later become an opportunity to collaborate with other accounts and expand your own reach.

Pozzo, meanwhile, has compiled answers to questions she’s been asked about business and finance in her latest book It la economía, vos no sos estúpida (It’s the economy. You’re not stupid, in Spanish), which aims to improve women’s economic autonomy.

take care

Direct feedback is a double-edged sword. “It’s pretty positive and that’s great. But social media is also an empire of violence. I’m systematically the target of systematic and massive aggression,” Pozzo said.

Terrile agreed. “There are very negative comments and that takes its toll because you tend to measure success and self-esteem by that, and that shouldn’t be the case,” she warned.

It is therefore important to take care of your mental health. For example, pay attention to the time you spend on social media, Terrile recommended. Algorithms favor constant engagement, so it can be tempting to engage with followers at all times. That can get out of hand.

Because of this, Terrile tries to regulate the time she’s online: “Otherwise it never stops.”


Photo by Angelica Reyes on Unsplash.

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