Four reasons why more journalists must start podcasts, and not just in English: views you can use from Amit Varma, the ‘Govinda of Podcasting’

 

A baffling splitscreen stares at journalists, especially middle-aged and experienced journalists, in a post-COVID world ravaged by falling revenues, plunging profits and growing irrelevance.

Those who have a job worry about when they might lose it, or how much their salaries will be cut next, or about being rendered obsolete by younger whipper-snappers adept at new technology.

Those already out of a job worry if anything will come along their way at all, and even if it does, will their core competencies have any value in the age of fragmentation and frivolity?

How best can honest journalists navigate the dilemma, without losing their head?

***

Amit Varma, the host of the well-regarded podcast ‘The Seen and The Unseen‘, suggests that good journalists honest to the craft might like to try their hand at the brave new world of podcasting.

Varma’s podcast has just completed 200 episodes.

In this episode of J-POD, the podcast on journalists and journalism, Varma–a former Wisden managing editor who has written for The Guardian, and done columns and limericks for The Times of India–says podcasting offers experienced journalists a way out of the morass.

Podcasts, he says, are easy to start, cost very little, provide plenty of time and space, and are deeply satisfying both for producer and discerning consumer. While there may not be money available instantly, Amit Varma says podcasting offers a fulfilling option.

“Don’t overthink. Just start,” says Amit Varma. There is an audience out there thirsting for quality content, and not just in English but other languages too. “Podcasts are not videos without visuals, or radio on demand.”

Amit Varma’s podcasts average about two hours per episode, packing in about 20,000 to 25,000 words. His 200th episode was five hours long, but enterprising podcasters can experiment with the new medium from as little as a minute-long episode.

Listen to the full podcast: Apple, Spotify

Photograph: courtesy Madhu Menon

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