Another nod to dear old, now young again, podcasting

Maybe you’ve seen some of the recent conversation wistfully pining for a return to what some call “slow journalism.” More than hot takes and 140-character teasers, it is an idea harkening to a time when we weren’t in such a great hurry.

(Journalists have always been in a hurry. It just scales.)

The most recent argument I’ve seen in this conversation has been that journalists would like some slow journalism — better stories, fewer ulcers, etc — but the audience demands are such that it is challenging. And yet, podcasting has given some a glimpse into not only a different medium, but a different pace:

Podcasting is also a welcoming format, requiring little more than a microphone and a server to host files. While companies like Gimlet are churning out shiny high quality shows — including a new podcast about podcasts — newspapers are also dipping their toes into more elaborate audio stories to reach new audiences, and to just try their hand at a still-growing medium.

When Serial came out, “everyone in our newsroom…[was] taken by that narrative storytelling format and realized just how powerful a tool podcasting can be,” Jason Noble, a political reporter at the Des Moines Register, said. Noble hosts Three Tickets, a podcast about the Iowa presidential caucuses. It’s one of many podcasts launched to fit into the election cycle.

My podcast, which should be returning in a few days, tries to strike a chord in between. Quick hits highlighting important and big stories you might have otherwise missed. I’ll crosspost them here, of course.

What kind of podcasts do you prefer? Have you worked on any yourself yet? What do you think of the opportunities the style presents to you?


The maturation of podcasting

Broadcasters getting into podcasting are taking the old upfront formula to this distribution style. Upfronts are a demonstration style, typically aimed at advertisers, as way to show off what’s coming down the pipe. And, in this case …

The variety of companies that were brought on-stage collectively offered a broad range of content types — thus broadening the narrative of what podcasts are and what podcasts can be. As much as I absolutely enjoyed the original April upfront, I was bothered by how that event (and its importance of being the first of its kind) extended the view of the podcasting as principally the domain of highly-produced, narrative storytelling. (The overwhelming legacy of Serial, which is almost universally present in the first paragraph of just about every general-audience article written about podcasting, already skews the medium’s identity in this regard.)


But it does set a tone for expectations among Big Advertising, especially now when the industry is in its formative stages. It cultivates certain norms, standards, and structures that could raise the barrier for other types or genres of podcasts to thrive.

Norms and standards and structures would eliminate some of the anything goes mentality. Anything can still go, but we’ve proven to be creatures that fundamentally respond to habit — or formula, if you prefer — in our media consumption.

What will that mean for your podcast? Will you adopt? Rebel? Wait and see?

The Best Story I’ve Heard Today — podcast ep5

Our old friend and journalist Andre Natta is our guest in today’s installment and he’s telling us about a proposal up for consideration in Denver that is aimed at helping to ease college debt. How do they plan to do it? Will it pass? Will it work? Andre has the answers.

You can find Andre’s work at and Urban Conversations. Follow him on Twitter, too.

The Best Story I’ve Heard Today — podcast ep2

Samford JMC has started a new podcast project where we’re making short programs featuring a story that you might not have otherwise noticed. Our guest is discussing a specific story, why it is important and why it should matter to you.

Today’s guest is Birmingham journalist Andre Natta. Give it a listen:

Here’s the story Andre is talking about, and it is a good one: Ten years after Katrina. You can find Andre at The Terminal, and more of his writing at Urban Conversations. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Thanks to Sean Coff and Yvonne Thomas, Samford students who gave us the intro and outro, respectively.

The Best Story I’ve Heard Today — podcast ep1

Samford JMC is starting a new podcast project. The premise is simple: We’re making short programs featuring a story that you might not have otherwise noticed. Our guest will discuss the topic, why it is important and why it should matter to you.

Our first guest was Trussville (Ala.) Tribune publisher Scott Buttram. Here is our first episode, give it a listen:

Here’s the story Scott is talking about, Best Buy posts surprise sales rise; shares jump. You can find the Trussville Tribune here, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Thanks to McClain McKinney and Kathleen Sharp, Samford JMC students who gave us the intro and outro, respectively.