Rather than traditional radio-style shows or interview format podcasts, news podcasting is changing its style to a more informal, tailor-made approach, where producers can be creative in the way they update audiences with the news.

Vox's daily news explainer podcast, Today, Explained, is one of the latest examples of this, following other news podcasts such as NPR’s Up First and the New York Times’ The Daily, aiming to help audiences make sense of the somewhat overwhelming news landscape. 

"We don't try to sound like any other show, we are trying to make something new and fresh," host Sean Rameswaram told Journalism.co.uk in a recent podcast.

The show focuses on the context of news, and each episode, lasting roughly 15-20 minutes, revolves around one story from the day that the team will then break down and analyse creatively.

Since 19 February, the show has come out every weekday afternoon, just in time for a listener's evening commute, with guests, clips, radio drama and even songs.

The production team of six people, led by executive producer Irene Noguchi, has to react to breaking news as it happens, sometimes changing their show to fit the news cycle.

"It's certainly challenging to create something distinct, entertaining and sound-rich – it's not too hard to interview somebody, but to find the right clips and ways to explain something can be pretty killer on a daily turnaround," he said.

"We work well together and support each other's silly ideas – but there's not always fun to be had.

"We just want the audience to feel something."

The team has been promoting the show on social media with audio snippets, and has also been making the most of the platforms to further connect with audiences, asking them what they like and need explaining.

"We have got better at doing it, and have streamlined our process overtime," he said.

"There's a lot less formality than there was at the beginning, and we've discovered that we are free to experiment with the show as we go on."

Rameswaram explained that experimentation is vital if you're going to create a podcast that's fresh and engaging to listeners in an already saturated space.

"I see how often people feel like they have to make something like someone else, but if you look at the most successful ones, you see they are really unique and add something fresh to the podcasting ecosystem", he said.

Audiences can listen and subscribe to Today, Explained on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and Google Play Music.

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