Magazine article Editor & Publisher

On the Daily: If You Want to Connect with Audiences, Start Building Podcasts

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

On the Daily: If You Want to Connect with Audiences, Start Building Podcasts

Article excerpt

I've got a new addiction.

Along with my morning coffee, there are wireless headphones in my ears and a smartphone streaming The Daily, which is what it sounds like--a daily podcast from the New York Times on a top story of the day. I'm not alone. According to Samantha Henig, editorial director for audio at the Times, there are 700,000 of us downloading or streaming The Daily each day. You can subscribe for free at nytimes. com/podcasts.

What makes The Daily so addictive is the quality of the broadcast and something else that is in plentiful supply at every newsroom in America--journalists who understand their community and the news that they cover, but do not have enough space in the print edition to tell what they know. To deepen our connection with readers, we all ought to be making plans to do a podcast on our community.

The numbers tell the story. Print circulation has been in decline for decades, but newspaper audience is growing. We have more readers than ever, despite our late arrival in the digital world that many newspaper leaders eschewed for too long. But just as our former readers turned from their newsprint edition to the screen on their PC, they are now moving past their PCs and tablets to their phones. And they want news on their drive to work or while they exercise.

The number of Americans who say they have listened to a podcast in the past month has doubled from 12 percent in 2013 to 24 percent in 2017. And--in a story that is hauntingly familiar--others are getting ahead of newspapers as consumers adapt to new technology. Two million unique users downloaded National Public Radio podcasts per week in 2014. The number is up to 3.5 million this year.

Reasons are simple. Young and old, we are attached to our headphones and smart phones. And the quality of the podcasts has developed. Yes, there still are some that sound like two guys talking endlessly in a tin-walled warehouses with Radio Shack microphones from 1987. But it takes a little effort (and some different hires) to make a quality podcast.

The arc of The Daily podcast compels you to stay with the narrative from start to finish. Henig said that's because the staff is largely composed of people with broadcast and podcast experience--from NPR's All Things Considered, WBUR and the BBC. …

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