Podcasting now an integral part of journalism
Podcasting is significantly changing journalism, which has been impacted massively by online advertising, a lack of investment, and a declining audience.
In this episode we speak with Toronto podcast producer and journalist Kathleen Goldhar on the impact podcasting continues to have on journalism
“I don’t think you can do anything without a podcast anymore,” Kathleen observes. “Every news organization has a podcast, whether it’s an original podcast where they do a lot of an amazing work, or all the shows are sent out on a podcasting format.
“So podcasting is as much a part of journalism as print, as digital storytelling, and as TV news is like, there’s just no separating it now.”
She adds that a lot of people don’t read a lot online, and so this makes podcasting an essential part of journalism.
Podcasting appeals because of its intimacy
Kathleen says that there is no one thing that makes a journalistic podcast stand out.
But the intimacy that a podcast allows for between host and listener is a key aspect of a good podcast.
“What podcasting and what audio does is it just goes straight into your brain because it’s so intimate. So it’s a chance to hear the people, it’s a chance to hear them interact with the journalists a lot of times, which is really nice.”
Focus on your audience, and don’t lose them
Kathleen says that it’s essential to pay attention to your audience and think their information needs.
“Most people are listening to podcasts while they are doing something else. If you make me stop and ask who’s that character? or What did he do again, or Who’s this person, then you’ve lost me. And if that happens too many times, I’m going to turn off the podcast.
“So, as complicated as podcast stories can be, and nuanced and smart, they also have to be quite straightforward and simple. We’re not reading, so we can’t go back. We’re not having the extra advantage of a visual reminder like you do in television,” Kathleen explains. “I’m not going to make notes while I’m listening to a podcast. So I need the story itself to unfold in a very practical and a very simple way.”
She adds that this doesn’t mean that a podcast has to be dumbed-down. Instead, podcasters have to really think about the listener and how prepared they are to be joining you on the story.
“This is a big part of the quality for me, that’s when I know that it’s produced well . . . when I never have that problem (of losing the thread of the story), and the podcaster is always helping me if I do need to go back in my mind to a character that was introduced a few episodes ago,” she adds.
Don’t rush the listener; let the story unfold at its own pace
“This is advice that I always give to my producers when I am story editing: Podcasting is actually about foreplay. It’s not about the deed. Because you’re not going to get me to where you want to get me at the end of that if you don’t include the foreplay, so you have to start slowly,” Kathleen explains.
You have to allow me to digest the information, you have to kind of build the tension. You have to get me up that hill before you let me drop off.”
For many podcasters and editors, the ability to do this is instinct more than anything else. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be learned.
Kathleen recommends that if you want to be a podcaster or podcast producer, the best thing you can do is listen to as many podcasts as you can.
“You should listen to a lot. I think there are a lot of people who don’t listen to podcasts and then say they want to make a podcast,” she notes. “And then when you’re listening, spend some time thinking to yourself, why did that work for me? Why didn’t it work for me? What are the pleat places that I can find inspiration? What do I want to stay away from? Is that kind of thing?”
This episode is sponsored by Podmotion.co, a new podcast creation and promotion agency launching soon! Go to Podmotion.co for more details!
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