Senator Cory Booker is running in slow motion through Reagan National Airport as Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” blasts. In the middle of a presidential bid, Booker is in his campaign casual: blue jeans, black dress shoes, a white button-down, and a black sport coat. As far as we know, he has one minute to catch a 6 p.m. flight to Iowa. It’s 5:59.
He exits his slo-mo daze and steamrolls an unsuspecting Dave Jorgenson to the ground.
“Booker 2020!” he yells at Jorgenson, who looks like the wind has been knocked out of him.
“Thank you for your cooperation,” a voice on the airport loudspeaker chimes in, as if from the heavens.
This 15-second morsel of staged sketch comedy lives on TikTok, a short-form social video app that has accumulated more than 500 million active users—some 40 percent of whom are ages 16 to 24—worldwide in the past few years.
Jorgenson is the face of The Washington Post’s account, which launched in late May and has since garnered more than 280,000 followers. Like much else on the platform, the Post’s account is self-aware, slapstick, and slightly cringey—a parade of pets, stunts, and workplace humor, often set to blaring pop music and shot through with a winking sense of humor about the very fact that a 142-year-old newspaper is even on here in the first place (“newspapers are like ipads but on paper,” the account’s bio reads.) It’s also, potentially, a chance for The Post to cultivate new audiences and new revenue streams in an industry constantly searching for both.