War and Podcasts
The Israel-Hamas conflict is affecting all parts of the media.
The war following the Hamas terror attacks on Israel on 7th October has already had innumerable consequences for the world. You’ll be relieved to know I’m not going to write about geopolitics in this newsletter, but the conflict has affected the media industry in ways that are worth exploring. I want to dive into one particular element of that - podcasts and, in particular, daily podcasts.
All podcasts take work, but daily podcasts are particularly hard. I know this because I used to be part of a team that made one! You either have nothing to say and force a topic, or there is too much to discuss. These issues are particularly acute when you’re dealing with news which, by its very nature, changes rapidly. And, of course, most daily shows cover news in some way.
While you can update a blog post or online article, people will often listen to a podcast episode hours, or even days, after it has originally been published. The difference between what the hosts knew at the time of recording and what the listeners know when they hit play can be stark. This is all far more sensitive in the case of a war where information and disinformation are crucial weapons.
To get a bit of an insider perspective on how the conflict in Gaza is affecting podcast production I reached out to a couple of people involved in very popular daily podcasts. It was notable that nobody wanted to comment. The stakes are high and the level of pressure is higher.
All podcasts are, of course, at risk of being overtaken by events quickly after they are published, the same way a print newspaper or even e-mail newsletters are. However, there is something about the intimacy of podcasts that makes them slightly more vulnerable. We tend to trust our favourite podcast hosts, so if they tell us something even/especially on a difficult or controversial topic we go with that.
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