More than a decade into her career, with most of that time spent at the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, Erica Mandy noticed she was hearing a very common refrain when talking about her work.
“I kinda looked around and realized that the younger demo was no longer watching TV news as much and the people I was talking to said four main words, which is ‘news is too depressing,’” she recalls. People also said they were tuning the news out because it was “boring and time consuming. I wanted to help people stay informed and bring information to them in a way they consumed.”
Now Mandy is the host of the NewsWorthy, a daily 10 minute podcast in which the main stories of the day are simplified and relayed in short, casually delivered, engaging facts.
Her podcast focuses on three Fs: Fast (less than 10 minutes); Fair (“It’s important I let people know you won’t hear arguing pundits, you’ll get an overview of what’s happening and we’ll move on”), and Fun.
News “isn’t just doom and gloom,” she says. “There’s tech things happening, business things … it’s not just the political and depressing, but that’s included too because you want to be informed on the important stories.”
Some listeners have told her NewsWorthy isn’t the only political or news-focused podcast they listen to, something Mandy welcomes.
“There’s time for people to have the big picture and be informed of everything that’s going on (without having to) dive really deep, but also see the overview,” she says.
It’s also important for her to include an overview for each story she discusses, something other journalists often take for granted.
“Journalists assume everyone knows what they know. We’re in it every single day,” she says, while listeners and readers very likely won’t be as immersed in the nitty gritty of a major story. “Every time I bring up the Russia investigation, I’ll give you a one-sentence reminder. People have other things going on in their lives and news isn’t as important. Part of what I try to do is be your friend (and tell you) here’s what’s going on in the world, I’m going to break it down and make it simple and easy to digest and you can be part of the conversation.”
Erica Mandy, the host of the NewsWorthy podcast, joins producer Michael O’Connell to explain why compact but well-explained news podcasts are not just the wave of the future but the best way to keep people informed in the present, and how 10 minutes is all anyone really needs to stay aware of the world.