Podcasts are back in vogue, thanks to the popularity of WBEZ Chicago's Serial podcast, which launched late last year and became the world’s most popular podcast with 5 million downloads on iTunes. Serial, which ran over the course of three months, examined the case of a high school teenager who was accused of killing his former girlfriend.
So what are podcasts and how can we access them? Podcasts are downloadable audio streams that are usually free of charge, and can be heard directly on their creators’ websites, but many prefer to download them on their mobile devices and listen to them on the go.
There are a number of mobile applications that you can download on your device that enable you to subscribe to your favorite shows, listen to them anytime, and also discover new podcasts. Among these apps are Overcast and Instacast.
Commenting on the rise of the popularity of podcasts, Doug Mitchell, founder of NPR's Next Generation Radio, said that the value of podcasts has finally caught up with a society that is far more mobile than it was when podcasting launched in the late 90s.
“Those who appreciate good storytelling, a more narrative form, will always have a unique audience. Think those who listen to books on tape,” Mitchell told IJNet, adding that the opportunity now lies in reaching everyone who has a smartphone.
IJNet compiled a list of journalism podcasts that media practitioners can listen to for on-the-go tips and inspiration:
Journalism.co.uk: This podcast, which hails from the United Kingdom, analyzes the latest innovations in digital journalism, and features industry experts on how newsrooms are dealing with challenges and opportunities. The show's recent podcast discussed the journalism skills and techniques to learn in 2015.
Sree Show: This is a brand new podcast by Sree Sreenivasan, who is the chief digital officer of the Meteripolitan Musuem of Art and a digital media profressor at Columbia Journalism School. In his podcast, Sree discusses practical tips on entrepreneurship, digital media and technology and interviews newsmakers and technology experts. The show's debut episode was entitled “Demystifying technology, digital mentors and Wikipedia.”
It's All Journalism: This is a weekly podcast about the changing state of media. It was created by three American journalists, WTOP FM Multimedia Reporter Megan Cloherty, Federal News Radio Web Editor Michael O'Connell and The Times-Picayune Politics Reporter Julia O’Donoghue. In this week’s episode, O’Connell interviewed a number of cartoonists on the recent fatal attack on Charlie Hebdo’s journalists.
Journalism/Works: This is a podcast by the Newseum Institute that focuses on “journalism that matters… that produce change, provide insight and that fulfill the watchdog on government mission envisioned for a free press in the First Amendment.” Among the topics that were discussed in these podcasts were women in sports media, free speech and reporting on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
Columbia Journalism School: This podcast from the Ivy League school features panel discussions and lectures by leading journalists in the field. One downside to this podcast is that the last episode was released almost a year ago. However, the archive of the previous podcasts is worthwhile.
Longform: This is a weekly show that interviews non-fiction writers and editors about how they got started, and how they tell stories. Sponsored by the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, the podcast is produced by Longform, a website and app that curates daily articles, and Atavist, a digital publishing tool. The most recent episode of this podcast interviews Alex Blumberg, a former producer for This American Life and Planet Money. Blumberg currently hosts the podcast StartUp.
On the Media (OTM): Longtime duo Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield host this weekly podcast, which is produced by WNYC. Gladstone, Garfield and their team examine issues facing the media and how journalists cover specific events and topics. If you're looking for constructive criticism of the news industry and occassional insights about how Hollywood portrays the media, OTM is for you.
Mediashift's Mediatwits: Mediatwits focuses on the previous week's media headlines: From hashtag activism to Taylor Swift removing her music from steaming service Spotify, the podcast covers a wide variety of news. Hosted by Mediashift Executive Editor Mark Glaser, the show features different journalists and media watchers as special guests each week.
How to Cover Money: This new weekly podcast from the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism offers tips on reporting on the financial aspects of a story, even if you're not a business journalist. Reynolds Director — and host — Micki Maynard encourages listeners to use it as a teaching tool too.
Image CC-licensed on Flickr via Patrick Breitenbach
The post was updated Friday, Jan. 23 at 5:40 p.m. to reflect Serial's producer, WBEZ Chicago.