Can the new TikTok #ShakeALegChallenge offer an opportunity to learn about issues faced by Indigenous Australians?

A Proposal for a news feature centred on a new TikTok dance challenge showcasing the diversity of Indigenous Culture

TikTok app, Image: Pixabay. Free for commercial use.

I’m interested in writing a feature exploring the ways in which young people are using TikTok as a platform to engage in social, political and cultural issues. I will use a new dance challenge, launched by Chris Dawson called Shake-A-Leg as a case study. I intend to offer an insight into the views of the younger generation, particularly the meaning they place behind their content and in turn highlight their voice.

Story & Angle

The video-sharing app TikTok has quickly developed into a cultural touchstone for young people, boasting over 500-million active users. It’s recognised for viral videos featuring comedy, dance, lip-syncing and ‘challenges’.

Many users have created videos that highlight significant issues in society including young women raising awareness about domestic abuse, students advocating for climate change, gun control in the US and panic buying in Australia.

Dawson an Indigenous Australian recently launched #ShakeALegChallenge aiming to showcase the cultural diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

By focusing my feature on the Shake-A-Leg-Challenge I’m attempting to do five main things:

  1. Introduce the point of views of young Indigenous voices.
  2. Highlight the significance of dance and cultural practices to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  3. Draw attention to the aims of Reconciliation Australia and generate public discussion.
  4. Offer an alternative way the wider public can engage with the issues facing Indigenous culture.
  5. Provide resources to the wider public if they want to learn more.

The due date of this feature coincides with National Reconciliation Week, a week dedicated for all Australians to reflect on issues including race relations, equality and equity, unity, institutional integrity and historical acceptance.


Five Dimensions : Image : Reconciliation Australia : Some rights reserved

Sources of Information

I will work in consultation with Indigenous Australian’s and Indigenous owned organisations to ensure the feature is authentic, collaborative and purposeful.

I will use information from interviews, organisations and academic articles in order to offer readers with Indigenous perspectives and provide context.

Sources include:

Intended Publication & Target Audience

This feature will be targeting the broader Australian community, therefore will be ideal for ABC News as it’s a legacy publication with a large audience reach.

It would compliment the Walking Together segment that features news articles, short films and programs framed around reconciliation. It is also relevant to their categories ABC Indigenous and art and culture.

In addition, they have a reconciliation action plan aiming to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, languages and culture become a part of the national vocabulary. They have editorial standards to ensure content is approached with cultural sensitivity.

The feature has news values such as human interest, relevance, shareability, good news and relates to the news organisations agenda.

Multimedia, Hypertext & Interactivity

This feature will include:

  • Embedded TikTok videos with permission of owners
  • Embedded images of people and events supplied by owners
  • Info graphics to feature statistical information (dependant on my research)
  • Hyperlinks to all resources used including websites, organisations and events
  • Hyperlinks to social media and contact details to the people mentioned in the feature

“Share it around, let everyone know how deadly our shake a leg is, it is a part of our culture, our dancing” – Chris Dawson said in a video he posted on social media.

View this post on Instagram

Social Distancing at it finest ??❤️ Too Deady

A post shared by Chris Dawson (@christoshiidawson) on

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any feedback.

About Krystal de Plater 3 Articles
U-SYD postgrad digital comms student. Follow her on twitter @krystaldeplater


  1. Hi, Krystal, I am interested in your topic and wonder how will you analysis it. Since you have chosen to write a news feature, I think it will be more appealing to the reader’s emotion if you can deeply narrow your topic. As I know, #ShakeALegChallenge is a trending hashtag on Tiktok, I understand your ankle is to raise the society attention to the desired message beyond the video’s topic, including the cultural issue as you have mentioned, but it is still a broad way to make the topic connect with the reader and communicate the significant message if you focus on a whole hashtag. My advice will be to narrow down the hashtag into the small pieces, for example, you can choose one specific video under this hashtag and collect the comment below to arouse more emotionally appealing and common sense towards the feature news story. But I really appreciate the research you have done, it is clear to link to all the sources and it is highly relevant.

  2. Hey Yahze,

    I agree, the feature topic will need to be narrowed down. I proposed to focus on the challenge as a whole as it address the diversity of Indigenous culture.

    Thank you for the feedback!

Leave a Reply