Bringing investigations to life through the Guardian’s ‘Today in Focus’ news podcast has brought younger audiences to its journalism in web and print, the Guardian’s head of audio Nicole Jackson told The Podcast Show on Wednesday
To demonstrate how podcasting had enhanced the Guardian’s output, Jackson pointed to how the news brand covered the Pegasus Project investigation into governments’ espionage of journalists and other public figures.
By bringing in the investigations team early to the podcasting space and being able to take part in the news gathering for the project, she believed a story that could have been dry for some readers in print was made much more accessible in audio form.
“Podcasts have become a gateway for Guardian journalism”, Jackson said, bringing in “a much younger audience to web and print”.
The panel, held in honour of the fifth anniversary of the Guardian’s ‘Today in Focus’ podcast, saw other major figures from the show discuss its success and what the team attempts to achieve with each episode.
Nosheen Iqbal, the podcast’s co-host, saw part of its role as being able to ‘colour in’ an important subject that may only be covered briefly in article form. Taking that short story and speaking to those involved on location makes the story “resonate” and “stay in your heart”, she explained.
The podcast is also a good vehicle for the Guardian to talk about other subjects beyond just hard news, ‘Today in Focus’ senior audio producer Elizabeth Cassie added, pointing to cultural subjects due to appear in upcoming episodes. “News isn’t just one thing”, she said. “It isn’t just the thing on the front page of the paper.”
Other panels also featured appearances from those working inside news brand podcasting. The Telegraph’s deputy investigations editor Katherine Rushton spoke on a panel about the enduring popularity of true crime and investigative podcasts, a genre she hoped would raise its ambitions and aim to break front page stories within a decade.
She also agreed on the power of news brand podcasts to introduce journalism to new audiences: “There are a lot of people who are not in the habit of reading newspapers that do listen to podcasts.”
Meanwhile, the host of the Guardian’s ‘Pop Culture’ podcast Chanté Joseph spoke elsewhere about the importance of podcasts like hers to provide an analytical depth to stories that readers care about but might not necessarily get from a regular news article.
“What am I bringing to the conversation that is different?”, she said, explaining the thought process behind each show. “We’re trying to dig a bit deeper into the stories that are happening in the news.”