Whether you get the newspaper delivered everyday and are constantly glued to the BBC Breaking News app or are a more causal observer who dips into their favourite magazine (we’re assuming Gentleman’s Journal) every now and again, from escapism to obtaining accurate information about the world around us, the media has never been more important. It has also never been more under threat. Whether from falling ad revenues causing job cuts and title closures to alarming restrictions on press freedoms around the world, large swathes of the media face an uncertain future.
Which is ironic because, thanks to the internet, social media, podcasts and their ilk, we’re all consuming more media than ever before. But, with the vast quantity of content out there, it can be easy to forget the intense, creative and difficult work that goes into creating your favourite publications – and the talented journalists and editors behind them. Below are some of the best podcasts uncovering the media landscape and showing exactly how the sausage gets made.
The Media Show (BBC Radio 4)
Created by BBC Radio 4 and hosted by the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan, The Media Show examines the latest big media stories and how they contribute to the revolution taking place in the media landscape. Released weekly, nothing is off limits. One week may see journalists discussing the secrets behind a great celebrity interview or the boom in TV documentaries while the next may feature an interview with the journalists who brought down Harvey Weinstein or investigate the crisis taking place at regional newspapers. This is the show for those who have always wanted to know what really goes on in a newsroom.
Founded and presented by PR guru, author and entrepreneur Paul Blanchard, each episode of Media Masters delves deep into the career of a senior figure in the media landscape, along the way uncovering their views on the current landscape and where they think the media industry is headed. Running the gamut of media types, from newspapers and magazines to TV, publishing, gaming and academia, recent interviewees include This Morning editor Martin Frizell, Esquire UK editor-in-chief Alex Bilmes and BBC News’ North American editor Jon Sopel. There’s a huge back catalogue so, if you’re not sure where to start, we’d recommend episodes featuring Alastair Campbell, Sir Trevor McDonald and Sarah Sands.
The magCulture Podcast
This is one for real magazine lovers. Hosted by Jeremy Leslie, creative director of the magCulture agency and shop, if you’re looking for a deep dive into the world of indie magazines – as well as authoritative opinions on the latest output from the world’s biggest titles – this is the podcast for you. Released monthly, each episode takes a look at the most exciting and interesting issues recently published, often discussing them with special guests from different realms within the magazine publishing sphere. Casting a critical eye over the broader spectrum of the magazine landscape – as well as exhibiting more nerdy enthusiasm for the craft of magazine making – this is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the world of zines.
In Writing with Hattie Crisell
One for budding authors and journalists, this podcast from writer and editor Hattie Crisell turns the lens on the act of writing itself. In each episode Crisell interviews writers from the worlds of fiction, poetry, journalism and comedy about the who, what, when, where and why of their writing process. Full of fascinating insights (yes, some novelists do use spreadsheets to plan their stories) and busting myths (no, writing doesn’t get easier the longer you do it), recent episodes feature guests including Jon Ronson, Alexandra Schulman, Robert Webb and Charlie Brooker. Ideal for anyone sure they have a book inside them somewhere but aren’t sure where to start.
On The Media
Not all media industries are created equal and they are often dictated by the culture and expectations of the country they operate in. Few are more powerful, and controversial, than the mainstream media organisations of the USA – largely thanks to certain fake news loving President. This multi-award winning show from New York’s WNYC Studios casts a fair but critical eye over the latest developments in US media, offering great insight into how certain views and opinions gain dominance, how they shape the worldview of those who consume them and making sense of the often heated debate over the rights of the free press. Start with recent episodes on cancel culture, Tucker Carlson’s non-apology and the race row at Bon Appetit magazine.
The Tip Off
Investigative journalists are often held up as the glamorous heroes of the newsroom – depicted in film and novels as brave journalists daring to dive head first into the stories no-one else will touch. And there is certainly an element of that. Investigative journalists often go undercover, wrangle wary witnesses and make themselves the targets of dangerous and powerful people to uncover the truth behind a rumour. But breaking a big story can also involve sifting through mountains of dull documents, repeated calls to interviewees reluctant to speak and a lot of patience – a journalist can work for years on a story before a single word ever makes it to print. The Tip Off speaks to the journalists behind some of the world’s most shocking and important scoops to see just what it took to make the front page.
Looking for more? Here are the best news and politics podcasts to download now…
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