Whether it’s the latest headline or a piece of investigative journalism, a well-produced daily news podcast can have an impact across both a wide range of topics and an equally broad audience. But the format is not without its challenges. From New York Times-inspired deep-dives to shorter news round-ups and microbulletins for smart speakers, there is no one-size fits all approach to this category of podcast, and the right blend of storytelling, production value, and efficiency will be key for success.
The Times has made a bold move into daily news podcasting with The Journal, launched just over a year ago. In addition to the title show, it offers a daily FT news briefing and podcasts dedicated to business, technology, and money. The podcasts, which are produced by Wireless, the company that operates Talk Radio in the UK, are attracting hundreds of thousands of downloads a day – more than currently buy the paper itself.
BBC Radio 4 has a long track record in the podcasting arena with its Today in Focus and PM, both of which attract substantial audiences. Its new daily news podcast Full Story builds on this experience, bringing a narrative structure to the episodes, and drawing in high-profile guests who can speak authoritatively about the issues. The podcast is also backed up with written articles on the website.
While the number of daily news podcasts is increasing, they make up a smaller percentage of total downloads than many other types of content. However, in countries like Australia and Denmark where there is a strong local interest in the subject matter, these shows are punching above their weight.
Daily news podcasts are a valuable way to expand students’ understanding of the world around them. The stories feature a variety of topics and include a list of essential facts for students to note as they listen. They can then use this information to form their own opinions, and the accompanying Teacher Guidance provides a range of activities to help support them.
Founded in 1919, the New York Daily News was America’s first tabloid newspaper and reached its peak circulation in 1947, at just under two million copies a day. It was known for its often shocking or inflammatory headlines and extensive city news coverage, celebrity gossip, classified ads, and comics.
DR’s Full Story has a team of nine that includes a producer/presenter, two executive producers, a news editor, and two journalist. The team is able to spend considerable time researching each week’s episode in advance, crafting a plot driven narrative and structuring interviews in detail before they take place. Moreover, they have a plethora of production techniques at their disposal, including the use of music and sound effects to set the mood and create scenes. This is all in service of a single, unified goal: to tell a compelling story that will appeal to the target audience.