There are a range of fantastic storytelling podcasts out there, from The Moth, which broadcasts real-life stories from the mouth of the protagonists, to the likes of Criminal and Dirty John that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Journalism podcasts aimed specifically at journalists are also on the rise, helping listeners keep up-to-date with what's going on in the industry, analysing the latest trends and discussing current issues.
The first podcast from Al Jazeera English, The Debrief, managed to attract audiences inside and outside of the media industry, giving listeners an insight into a journalist's experience reporting on a particular news story.
"We were interested to know what our reporters had witnessed on the ground, what that did to them, and how they experienced a story," Yasir Khan, who edited The Debrief, told Journalism.co.uk in a recent podcast.
The podcast, which ran from September to December 2017, let audiences listen in to the conversations between its reporters, analysts, filmmakers and photojournalists around the world, sharing their experiences and feelings on something they had covered for Al Jazeera.
"When our reporters came back from Rohingya, it was one of the first times we had noticed correspondents coming back from the field completely shaken – and we thought, let's talk about that," he said.
"Stories affect us when we are out in the field, and that effect is a story worth telling – but it gets pushed aside because we, rightly so, feel that we are not the story, we are part of the story. However it is an important part of the equation that needs to go somewhere.
"I think of the podcast as 'privileged access conversations' that audiences would never hear otherwise."
Al Jazeera employs journalists from 50 different countries, reporting on stories from hundreds of places around the world every single day.
Instead of generating brand new content, the team decided to use footage from journalists who had been out reporting, re-purposing material where they could in order to help tell the story.
"We realised that there were a lot of reporters and correspondents coming in to do the news, but there was so much that had remained untold and all this material that never saw the light of day," he explained.
The latest episode of our #podcast The Debrief takes you to America’s poorest white town - Boonville, population 87.— Yasir Khan (@khanundrum) December 21, 2017
Nice work by @P_Strickland_ , @jasminbauomy, @colintineanu & @mohsin
Episodes have taken audiences to Boonville, the poorest county in the US, they have covered the trafficking of Romanian women, India's motorcycle ambulance, and one Iraqi father's search for his son, to name a few.
"Journalists often tell stories of victimhood, but very rarely do we tell stories of overcoming, so that is what we tried to do," he said, noting a Yemen episode about two aid workers overcoming Saudi air strikes.
As a global news organisation, Al Jazeera didn't shy away from using a production team spread around the globe – in Canada, Romania and Doha.
"I said to my boss, 'just treat this as a pilot, not only as a podcast, but as a workflow with an international production team'," he said, explaining that Skype and Slack were essential over the one to two weeks of production time needed for each episode.
"For each episode, we initially went after the reporters who had the time and the willingness to experiment, and then after we promoted it and sent the links out around the company with how well it was doing, the heavier-hitters came to us asking to be in the podcast."
The same thing happened when Al Jazeera used to carry out similar interviews over a Facebook Live, grabbing a journalist when they had come back from the field and quizzing them about their time there. Once the hype started spreading around the company, more and more people wanted to get involved and be a part of it.
Each episode of The Debrief stands alone, allowing the audience to pick and choose the stories that grabs them. Al Jazeera has since launched Jetty, a new audio-focused media brand, with its new podcast 'Closer Than They Appear'.
"There's an astounding degree of intimacy with podcasts that you don't get with video – I'm in your ear.
"Your audience has to make a decision to consume it – there's about three steps involved which could be a good or bad thing, but it means the intent is a lot stronger."
You can listen to The Debrief on your phone's podcast app, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, tunein, or listen online, and you can hear more from Khan about the series here.
Free daily newsletter
- Six new journalism podcasts to help you get through the pandemic
- Digital News Report 2020: covid-19 accelerates digital shifts in the media industry
- Tip: Producing podcasts from home
- Six journalism podcasts to listen to while in lockdown
- Jemima Villanueva, executive director EMEA at The Atlantic, on what makes an award-winning podcast