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.

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

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

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

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

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

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

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

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

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

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

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

AX Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

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

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Trushar Barot   API or die

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

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

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

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

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Errin Haines   Chaos or community?

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives