(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The term “influencer” conjures images of meticulously curated Instagram stories, brand endorsements, and affiliate marketing. Yet, social media mogul Lauren Norris is challenging stereotypes, inventing a modern iteration of lifestyle journalism that synergizes traditional journalistic ethos with today’s top digital platforms.
Garnering nearly a million followers across various social platforms, Norris is more than just a pink-clad influencer, she’s a pioneer in the evolving world of news, whether or not she identifies as the journalist she has become. Her digital prowess stretches across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and her personal blog, each channel resonating with audiences through relatable discourse, personal takes on pop culture, even touching on controversial social issues.
This multi-platform presence speaks to just how large her digital footprint has become, a level of efficacy every reporter could learn from. Traditional news outlets are currently dipping their toes into digital domains, AKA Norris’ territory, in hopes of keeping up with ever changing audience preferences. Yet, all have yet to do any one as well as she does, let alone all of them. Her broad reach makes her voice highly sought-after—and undoubtedly lucrative, judging by her upscale New York City apartment, and enviable luxury lifestyle.
Notably, Norris has posted about expanding her operations to include a team of like-minded women to help manage her product. Much like a traditional newsroom, streamlining content through employees enables her to satisfy the public’s ever-growing appetite for her work.
When it comes to the substance of her output, Norris’ videos frequently resemble that of an advice column you’d read in the newspaper, something of an “Ask Amy” for young female audiences. Sharing her authentic perspectives on topical issues and shared experiences, her “Girl Talk” series on YouTube provides insights that are both personal and reflective of today’s true Gen Z 20 something.
The journalistic parallels extend further as Norris navigates topics akin to traditional beat reporting. For instance, her culinary ventures echo food journalism, offering her audience restaurant reviews and recipe suggestions. Her recent series, Lattes with Lauren, ventures into the Heart of NYC in search of the big apple’s finest iced coffee.
But she doesn’t shy away from posting a bad review. Norris ventures into critiquing services and products, comparable to a consumer rights reporter. She consistently holds companies accountable for negative experiences and subpar customer service. Moreover, her recent coverage of New York Fashion Week presented a level of journalistic success that rivaled established outlets. Dominating social timelines through her video footage and firsthand experiences, she emerged as a trusted source for event reporting amidst competitive algorithm-driven newsfeeds.
The line between influencer and journalist further blurs when considering Norris’ sponsored content. Her branded posts are hardly different from the advertisements found on the pages of my local paper or during commercial breaks on television. She has managed to turn her lifestyle into a full-time endeavor, commodifying her experiences in a savvy business model.
But the worth of Lauren’s influence goes far beyond appearances. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I often felt discouraged from embracing anything feminine. Wearing something “girly” was considered by and large, anti-feminist in our “hipster” city. So I traded sparkles for matte and pink for black. Norris, on the other hand, reshapes our perceptions and reminds us there’s power in femininity, regardless of how one chooses to express it. By sporting her iconic feathers, frills and heels, she unabashedly reminds the girl in me that it’s okay to do the same.
Like major publications that have ventured into merchandise, Norris has also extended her brand into the physical realm. Her popular mantra, “Be the girl that just went for it,” has become more than a slogan—it’s an empowering ethos that she has successfully and rightly monetized.
So instead of Gen Z carrying a New Yorker tote, you might see a preppy pink item from LN X NYC next time you walk the streets. At this point, she’s practically girlbossed her reclamation of womanhood into a paycheck. The fact that her Amazon Storefront & TikTok videos are often eligible for commission shows she’s not just reporting on trends after the fact- but launching them. Norris may not self-identify as a reporter, but the breadth of her audience suggests otherwise, making her a compelling figure in the ever-changing world of journalism.
Overall powerful, pink & indisputably popular, Lauren tells stories in a more stylish fashion than most of us could dream. A walking, talking (and modeling) op-ed, one might argue that “influencing” is the accessible, widely digestible and unexpectedly delightful future of journalism.