I have to admit it: I am an absolute podcast fanatic. I love them and I love listening to them. It’s a great way to learn more about so many topics in a really easy and accessible way.
Not to sound too much like a Gen Z, but podcasts are the future of audio. Podcasts keep me awake and alert on a drive and honestly just more attentive than listening to music.
I’ve listened to enough of them to have developed some favorites that I think everyone should listen to. I have to admit, though, they do all seem to have a common theme. As a journalist, I’m obsessed with the investigative listens and the news-driven audio stories. I tend to gravitate towards shows made by news outlets or prominent journalists. For me, following the story and going along for the ride is an experience that I thrive off of and helps me better myself as a reporter, too. I can’t recommend these following shows enough to everyone. There’s so much to learn from all of them and I promise, they’re all extremely encapsulating the more you get into them.
- I want to start on a dramatic note: my favorite podcast I’ve listened to thus far is “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow.” Some context for my friends at home: Farrow is an investigative journalist who is most-known for his articles in The New Yorker that exposed the covered-up sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
“The Catch and Kill Podcast” is based upon a book of the same name (which I also cannot recommend enough). Farrow uses the podcast as a really great tool: he doesn’t just reiterate everything he said in the book, he talks about new information. He discovered so much during his investigation that he couldn’t fit all of it in the book and used the nine episode series to go into deeper specifics.
The show is great. Farrow does something different every episode: interviews Weinstein’s former personal assistants, the fact-checkers and editors at the New Yorker who helped Farrow with his groundbreaking story and even to a spy hired by Weinstein to look into what Farrow was digging up in his reporting stages.
It’s crazy. Every episode you learn more about something different. It brings everything you learned in the book even completely together. And Farrow is great. Not only is he an excellent print journalist, he proved himself to be a great audio reporter as well. You will get hooked. Don’t be upset. Just listen to the whole thing in a week and then we’ll talk.
- The newest podcast that I’m getting into is called “Dig.” There’s not a ton of episodes out yet, but what is out is really well-reported. Dig is produced by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting through the National Public Radio.
“Dig” is a true crime story about a rape case reported in January 2018. The podcast looks at how the police in the area didn’t take the case seriously and how the case has been stagnant as a result. Again, another complicated story, but it has some great investigative reporting done by host Eleanor Klibanoff. Klibanoff really wants to get to the bottom of the case and asks important questions to important people.
“Dig” put out its first five-episode season late last year and left me hanging for a little bit. They just put out the first episode of the second season, and I’m looking forward to listening to it to hear the progress that’s being made on the case. The podcast is doing some great work by drawing attention towards this issue, a strength of this reporting. Give it a listen. Some of it is hard to hear, but the negligence highlighted in it is enthralling and eye-opening.
- “The Shrink Next Door” podcast is a front-runner for me. Produced by Wondery and Bloomberg, the podcast is written and hosted by legendary journalist Joe Nocera.
This story was crazy and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. It’s complicated so I would recommend listening to it to fully understand all the connections, but here’s the best way to explain it: Nocera has a home in the Hamptons, New York with a neighbor named Ike. Ike has a very attentive assistant, Marty, who was always taking care of the house.
Eventually, Nocera learns that Marty, the maintenance man, was not at all a maintenance man. Ike was Marty’s therapist and developed an overpowering relationship where he manipulated Marty for years. Ike convinced Marty to move into the basement of his own house, give him a lot of control in his business, cut off ties with his family completely, write a will which would give most of his fortune to him, amongst other things.
The story is, like I said, crazy. I love the way Nocera tells it and I was dying to hear the next episode after listening to each release. The podcast goes into how Marty let Ike get so overly-invested in his life and how he ultimately got out of the toxic friendship. Please listen to “The Shrink Next Door.” It’s superb storytelling.