Podcast Suggestions

By: Mandy Mitchell

Since “The ‘A’ block” has added a podcast element, I wanted to recommend some other podcasts you may like. As journalists most of us are very curious and looking to learn. These podcasts include great storytelling, interviewing and information you can apply to what you do daily.


This American Life

This is probably my favorite (It’s really a radio show, but I will call it a podcast). Basically the host, Ira Glass, takes one subject over the course of an hour and tells different stories about that subject. One of my favorite episodes was when they sent a reporter to a random diner in Chicago for an entire day and just told the story of what they saw -Proof that everyone has a story. “This American Life” also did award-winning work with this must listen story about a Chicago high school.

What will you learn?

  • Fabulous storytelling techniques.
  • It’s not all about a perfect on-air voice. Glass isn’t shy about telling people he doesn’t have the best radio voice, but he has become a force in the industry. Why? He’s very very good.


Serial is from the creators of “This American Life”. It is one story told weekly. In the first season, reporter Sarah Koenig, dug in to an old murder case in Baltimore. In the second season she detailed the Bowe Bergdahl case. If you only have a little time, start with season one as it’s much better.

What will you learn?

  • The process of digging in to a story. Koenig talks through the questions she had and where she went to find the answers. It’s a very useful way to learn what questions you should be asking and how to work around a problem.
  • How many layers a story can have. Both seasons can be told in a neat and tidy 1:30 local news PKG, but she stretches them out for weeks. You would be surprised how many layers your daily stories have.
  •  Always ask for an interview. She interviews someone from the Taliban for season two. That’s a pretty good get. I could see talking myself out of trying that one. Why not ask?

Planet Money

This is a shorter podcast for those of you who want something to kill the time on a 15-minute commute. It’s about the economy, but it’s also a great way to learn general things about current events and topics you may not know a lot about.

What will you learn?

  • You’ll get story ideas. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to this podcast and thought of a way to localize the story. A recent episode detailed the “smart gun” and the company that tried to build one. Another episode focused on gym memberships and how gyms really make money. Need a sweeps piece idea? Listen to “Planet Money” for a while. You’ll find one.

If you want to listen to these podcasts, you can go to their websites, or you can download the podcast app on i-Tunes. As for the “A- block podcast”, it will be released on a random basis for now. I hope to have a new one up next week!

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