The amplification of audio storytelling

“What are the stories that are going to break through the noise? Which topics would inspire engagement and build community?”

In 2016, we should expect to see — or perhaps it’s hear — more podcasts as more newsrooms find success with audio content.

The popularity of Serial has proven that, in the age of video, there is indeed an appetite for nonfiction audio storytelling.

This year, be on the lookout for more viral audio that focuses on interesting sound produced for social web, like NPR’s clips of an erupting volcano or inside a hurricane; investigative pieces, like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s seven-part podcast about a 40-year murder mystery; and cultural conversations, like BuzzFeed’s Another Round.

Whether they’re short takes or longform, podcasts’ growth will be fueled by their capacity to create personal, intimate, enlightening, captivating experiences for listeners. Powerful podcasts amplify unique narratives and diverse voices. They also attract new followers — a boon to any media outlet.

As newsrooms seek to integrate podcasting into their editorial strategy in 2016, consider the following:

  • What are the stories that are going to break through the noise?
  • Which topics would inspire engagement and build community?
  • What tools and training will you need to produce stellar audio?
  • How can you fit into your audience’s on-the-go, on-demand lifestyles?

Mira Lowe is senior editor for features at CNN Digital.

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