the transition to digital journalism
Audio and Podcasts
Paralleling the increase in YouTube videos has been the spectacular grown of digital audio podcasts playable on devices like the iPod. Apple put the iPod on the market in Fall 2001, and by 2012 more than 350 million iPods had been sold.
While music is the most popular media played on the iPod and similar devices, some news organizations also have had success with audio podcasts.
National Public Radio reported the number of podcasts downloaded from its website each month reached 29 million in 2012, up from 28 million in 2011 and 12 million in 2008, according to data compiled in the State of the News Media 2013 report by the Pew Research Center.
But the total number of podcasts produced by all sources began leveling off in 2012. To see what kinds of podcasts are most popular with listeners, check out the PodcastAlley website and its monthly Top 10 listings for podcasts.
Besides radio stations, other news organizations, especially newspapers, had jumped on the podcasts bandwagon in the late 2000s, but usually with disappointing results in terms of listenership.
Thus the Boston Globe discontinued its podcasts - “Big time commitment, little gain,” said former Globe Editor Marty Baron.
The New York Times said it would be cutting back on its podcasts in 2012.
On the other hand, Slate reports big success with its podcasts, but in number of listeners and advertisers. Slate attributes the success to emphasizing opinion and personality in the podcasts and focusing them more on niche topics.
Audio podcasts also can be valuable as a way to provide content for mobile devices that are increasingly in use.
But on a website, combining audio with photos in a photo slideshow can be more effective as a storytelling device.
Readings and Resources
- How the iPod Took the World by Storm - Mashable, 5/10/2010
- Podcasts: Who still listens to them? - BBC, 7/23/2011
- New York Times Drops Many Podcasts - JimRomenesko.com, 12/27/2011
- Slate doubles down on podcasts, courting niche audiences and happy advertisers - Nieman Journalism Lab, 6/4/2012