It’s All Journalism: So You Wanna Podcast?

Why not podcast?

I was a student in American University’s Interactive Journalism program when the idea first came to me.

What I liked about the AU program were the discussions we had about how the journalism industry was changing. We also got to meet innovative journalists who shared their experiences working in digital newsrooms.

This was heady stuff for me, a 50-something editor in the midst of a career crisis. I’d learn these lessons on the weekend and then turn around and apply them Monday morning in my job as a Web editor at a chain of weekly newspapers.

But as the program wound down, I wanted to find a way to continue these discussions and learn more skills from smart journalists.

I switched jobs, becoming a Web editor at a radio station with two of my classmates, Megan Cloherty and Jolie Lee. I shared my idea and together we developed a weekly podcast where we interviewed professional journalists about how they did their jobs.

The original idea was that we were doing these interviews for people already in their careers, who were trying to make sense of an industry changing around them.

But very soon we discovered there were many new journalists, recent grads who couldn’t find jobs because they’d never learned the skills they needed to compete in a digital newsroom.

But how do you podcast?

In deciding to do It’s All Journalism, we discovered that starting a podcast involves a lot of things we didn’t know how to do.

We knew our theme, our target audience, more or less, and our format — audio interviews with media professionals. But how would we record the audio? How do we edit it? Where would we post it? How often are we going to post it? How do we get it on iTunes? How do we promote it?

The recording and editing were pretty easy problems to solve. We worked at a radio station, so a lot of the tools were already available to us. But not everyone who wants to start podcasting has that advantage.

On Saturday, Sept. 27, Megan Cloherty and I did a presentation at the 2014 Online News Association Conference in Chicago about how to do a podcast. This week’s episode is the audio from that presentation, where we go over the basic steps of podcasting.

We don’t claim to be experts on the subject, but these are some of the lessons we learned along the way. Hopefully, they’ll be useful for fledgling podcasters.

Come on in. The water’s fine.

— Michael O’Connell

View a pdf file of our ONA 2014 presentation on podcasting

Listen to the full podcast:

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