Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

“Many new listeners will arrive seeking refuge from Facebook’s fake news buffet and Twitter’s ideologue clutter, while expecting the speed of news they’ve became accustomed to from over-the-air radio and television.”

The day after Trump’s Access Hollywood video leaked, I saw something completely unprecedented happen in my podcast feed. Despite The Washington Post’s story breaking on a Friday afternoon, by the time I was cleaning my apartment the next day, my favorite shows had already released episodes responding to the news. On a Saturday!

andrea-silenziBecause podcast discovery remains labyrinthine for our listeners, many shows are designed to have a long shelf life. If I discovered The Moth Radio Hour or Modern Love this week, I’d be able to deeply binge on their entire back catalogues without hesitation. And while part of the joy of listening to the first season of Serial was following along “week by week,” the show is still being consumed with ravenous energy by fans who continue to discover it years later.

This is how personal storytelling set to feelings-rich organ music became an unshakeable cliché of the podcast medium. Those stories are what brought me here, but it’s not what’s kept me around. I love that podcasts are a way to take in news and information without being tied to a screen or a chair. Unlike my favorite public radio shows, my favorite podcast hosts are given license to explain and argue their opinions. In 2016, my favorite podcasts were ones that would help me digest the day’s news.

On that Saturday, October 8, podcasts broke from their regular schedules all at once, starting with FiveThirtyEight releasing an episode at 11 a.m. Their elections team became known this year for late-night emergency broadcasts and informal chats in diners over omelets. This specific episode featured a conversation taped before a live audience in Chicago the night before. From stage, whiz kid Harry Enten responded to the Access Hollywood recording: “If you’re a decent human being, it’s not something that you say.” The audience replied in affirmative applause.

At 1:30 p.m., the NPR Politics Podcast came out with their “Trump on Tape” episode. Three of their panelists gathered in NPR’s D.C. offices, and Ron Elving joined from home. New remote recording tools make these kinds of rapid response episodes more possible. Around 4:30 p.m., Slate’s The Gist released their episode “Trump’s Comeuppance?” down the feed. To make that episode, host Mike Pesca recorded 5 minutes of narration into an iPhone mic. Then the Report-It app automatically uploaded his file onto an FTP server, where his crafty producer across town, Mary Wilson, downloaded necessary elements, mixed and published the episode. In this episode, Pesca memorably compares Billy Bush to Chester the Terrier from Warner Bros. cartoons and uses audio to highlight the pup’s breathless deference and kiss-uppery.

Exciting new podcast publishing platforms such as Panoply’s Megaphone offer podcasters dynamic ad and promo insertion. To me, it seems inevitable that this same technology has the potential to be used for a regularly updated newscast. While I’m not privy to any plans in this area, I could imagine many podcast networks offering newscasts like this, with the option to geographically target and customize the content to different audiences.

As podcasts become better known as outlets for breaking news analysis, not everyone will want that. I have a friend who finds comfort in listening back to podcasts recorded before the 2016 election, before Terry, Marc and Dan knew the full threat to our liberal democracy. But soon podcasting’s forest of evergreen content won’t be able to stay the norm.

As our audiences continue to grow, many new listeners will arrive seeking refuge from Facebook’s fake news buffet and Twitter’s ideologue clutter, while expecting the speed of news they’ve became accustomed to from over-the-air radio and television. With more production staff, original programming, and audience demand, in 2017 we’ll see the rise of more news shows than ever, all experimenting with how quickly they can respond to breaking news. Let the race begin.

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Errin Haines   Chaos or community?

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Richard Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Trushar Barot   API or die

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy