Every December, we take a look back at the top 10 episodes of the year and try to glean something of value from the examination. It’s not just for fun. Maybe we can learn something about what subjects our listeners are most interested in.
In 2019, the topics varied from young journalists learning how to tell their stories to understanding data analytics. The podcasts that seemed to garner the most ears addressed the role of women in newsrooms and the fake news/trust in media matrix.
Reviewing our Top 10 of 2019, IAJ producers Amelia Brust, Nicole Ogrysko and Michael O’Connell share their thoughts about what made these episodes stand out.
When producing our episodes, we often forget It’s All Journalism has an international audience. Because of our experiences and contacts, most of the people we talk to are connected to American media, but the issues we discuss often have international implications. This episode reminds us that the journalism discussion is much bigger than one country and how important it is to support the next generation of storytellers. (Michael O’Connell)
Mandy Jenkins is a long-time friend of our podcast. She was one of our first guests way back in 2008, when she explained to us how to use social media to crowdsource breaking news. At the end of 2018, she’d written one of those year-in-review articles about fake news and Facebook and I thought that would be a great topic for us to discuss. I’m not surprised that this episode ranked so highly, because journalists are still reckoning with how to handle Facebook. At the time of Mandy’s article, lots of journalists were talking about leaving Facebook. She had another take. (Michael O’Connell)
If I had one episode to do over from 2019, it would be this one. Not that it’s bad, but that I could’ve been a less combative host. Maybe that friction is what makes this episode such a good listen. Martin Spinelli and I had a great discussion about the state of podcasting and I’m just guilty of having strong opinions about the subject. I’ll invite him back in the news year, I promise. (Michael O’Connell)
I’ve used this in my reporting in the past and I recommend it to anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a “source rut.” It’s especially helpful for finding people to talk to on subjects you don’t regularly cover, and perhaps don’t know where to start. In general, reporters need to get better at diversifying their sources, and this is a part of that. (Amelia Brust)
I’m a nerd for metrics. So, when I get a chance to talk to anyone about using data analytics to better understand the wants and needs of your audience, I eat it up with a spoon. What I liked about this discussion is it reveals, once again, that people appreciate good journalism. (Michael O’Connell)
All journalists covering the Trump administration should go back and give Rosen’s Twitter thread a read. It describes how news outlets have only perpetuated a cycle where the president Tweets and journalists rush to cover what he says, regardless of its content and accuracy. It doesn’t have to be this way. Rosen instead urges us to start with the facts and the truth, mention what the president said, and then bring in the facts again. It doesn’t seem that hard, but it’ll take pointed conversations and dedicated resources to change the status quo. (Nicole Ogrysko)
This was such a fun episode to edit. The giggles and the banter among the girls more than made up for the challenges that came with recording a Skype interview with a big group. My favorite part came when Mike said, “I can hear you,” after a few of the students whispered in the background. The group erupted into laughter. I loved that moment, and the raw energy and passion the class at the Bronx Prep Middle School brought to this interview — and their work creating an original, award-winning podcast — was inspiring and endearing. Kudos to the girls, and to their super cool English teacher, Shehtaz Huq. Keep it up, ladies. (Nicole Ogrysko)
On the surface it might sound disheartening, but to hear that so many successful and talented women in journalism have and still do face self-doubt about their work or their ability to be in charge was incredibly reassuring to me. It’s a reminder to everyone, at every stage of their careers, that someone you may admire has been in your shoes before, and they will feel that frustration again. But the point is that they learned from their experience and so can you. And don’t be afraid to vent your frustration – especially when it’s an outside force preventing you from doing your job. You deserve a chance to do your work and prove yourself without also having to fight off discrimination or unfair limitations. (Amelia Brust)
Brutal but true and to the point. If news organizations are only going to talk the talk but not walk the walk – i.e. hire more diverse staff from a wider variety of backgrounds, avoid treating political coverage like sports, cut the hyperbole and report stories about people who actually need someone to advocate for them – they shouldn’t expect anything to change. For better or worse, journalists aren’t entitled to the public’s trust – they have to earn it. (Amelia Brust)
The message that Joy Mayer and Lynn Walsh deliver with their Trusting News initiative resonated deeply with me. In my own reporting, I’ve often found that the best stories originate from questions and comments from readers themselves. Telling the readers that their own comments inspired a particular story can go a long way toward building trust with my news outlet’s audience. It shows them that we’re listening and paying attention to what they have to say. (Nicole Ogrysko)