By Kaleigh Cortez
The current landscape of the news industry may be changing yet again through podcasting.
Only a few years ago most of the world participated in a shift from reading a physical, print newspaper to reading their articles on a screen. Another shift may be arising as audiences move away from reading entirely and choose to listen.
Podcast audiences have grown dramatically in recent years with half of Americans aged 12 to 34 listening monthly.
Podcasts cover a wide variety of genres, with a third of users only listening for entertainment. Comedy is the most listened to genre as of Jan. 2021, followed by news.
Out of all podcasts listeners, over half stated “podcasts are an important source of news and information in my day-to-day life,” according to a Media Monitors survey.
This survey was conducted during the coronavirus pandemic, during which many consumers turned to podcasters to explain the complex and ever-changing news regarding the virus.
Listeners used the daily podcasts as a supplement to their regular information outlets in order to grasp a more complete understanding of the news in a detailed and timely manner.
With as many news podcasts that are available to the public, only five percent of listeners do not trust podcasts as a reliable source of information.
This may simply just be because of its newness in the sphere of mass popularity, but it may also be rooted in a lack of community moderation and interaction.
On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter where news is easily passed around, audiences can interact with the information, the writer, and each other. Posts can be liked or shared so users can present additional facts or discredit the information.
Podcasts, however, are almost entirely one-sided. Creators can post their episodes to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, where there are no commenting capabilities and the information is not as easily shared with peers.
In order for podcasts to either fail or succeed as a reliable source of news in the daily lives of their listeners, content platforms must increase their community engagement capabilities to foster a culture of audience moderation and scrutiny.