Advances in technology usually focus on one thing: how can we do things faster? How can we do things more efficiently?
We all know that social media has sped up both our ability to produce and consume news. Reporters can send news updates to readers in seconds, who then in turn are receiving dozens of news updates from dozens of different sources at the same time.
In my last column, I wrote about how journalism needs to be people-centric. Part of the difficulty in making this happen is in the speed with which reporters are expected to produce content to keep up with the flow of social media.
Although there is value in speedy information, I think it is important to remember that technology advancements can also add depth to a story in ways we never could before.
It’s also important to be aware of the trends and of how people are currently interested in consuming their news. If we, as journalists, are going to spend a long time creating an innovative news story in a new medium, it best be a medium the public is willing to dedicate their time to learning from.
Right now, I believe the medium for long form journalism is podcasting. I am biased because I have several of my own podcasts and am an avid podcast listener, but I’m also observant about the media space and how the people around me are consuming information.
Here are my top three reasons why I believe podcasts are gaining traction:
1. In depth news when you have time for it
Podcasts are one of the few forms of media that allow for multitasking. Because people tend to listen to podcasts when they are commuting, working out, doing dishes or completing some other task they have to spend time on anyways, they are much more likely to consume a 40 minute podcast in its entirety.
This is a pretty incredible in for journalists who are struggling to get readers to read past the first few sentences in an article.
2. People are the focus — storytelling at its best
As I said in my last column, everything in our world is and should be about people. People are at the center of every story, and so the fact that podcasts allow us to hear a quote straight from the person who said it adds a whole other level of credibility and authenticity that is lost in the “writing world.”
3. They pull you out from a social media headspace
Podcasts are their own separate news device, for the most part. Sure, you can access them on social media, but when you listen to a podcast, you are making a conscious decision to do so. With most of the news we consume, we happen upon it while scrolling through social media and take maybe five minutes to interact with it before moving on to the next thing.
Listening to a podcast means you are dedicating your time to one particular story, and that allows for a much deeper understanding of the content.