Are video podcasts worth the time investment?
PLUS: How new literary stars are minted
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Are video podcasts worth the time investment?
You’ve probably noticed that many conversational podcasts are simultaneously distributed as videos on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Lots of industry professionals — including me — have argued that every podcast should have a video component, but podcast analyst Adam Shepherd disagrees with this advice:
Part of the reason publishers might be wary of video is that it's an extra time investment. Setting up the studio for video - getting the lighting right, adjusting camera angles and so on - takes longer than prepping for audio, and not every guest is happy to appear on video, which adds more time in terms of planning and logistics.
Many also feel that video podcasts work best when all the participants are in the same room, which immediately limits podcasters to guests within a reasonable travel distance, who are willing to take time out of their day to come down to their studio. While the technology exists to support remote video podcasts, and many have used it to great effect, it means that you also have to think about backdrops and visuals, which guests may not be well-equipped for.
As someone who's spent the last year creating a video version of his podcast, I can say that it takes maybe an hour of extra work to incorporate video into my production process. That's a light enough lift that it makes the extra time spent more than worth it.
The questionable ethics of TMZ’s scoop factory
TMZ has built such an effective scoop machine that it often angers celebrities and their relatives when it publishes highly sensitive information — especially when that information is supplied by civil servants who are acting unethically:
Much of the most consequential material arrives from local law enforcement officials, with whom TMZ cultivates close relationships. Harvey Levin, the hands-on founder who’s run the outlet nonstop since its launch in 2005, is known to be attuned to hiring staffers who may already possess intimate connections behind the blue line, according to newsroom veterans who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. For example, the former head of TMZ’s news desk was the son of the assistant sheriff in Orange County. The former TMZ staffer says law enforcement is “extremely closely tied” to the site, which this person says receives most of its tips by way of a “handful” of unscrupulous officers who regularly call in.
CEO Tomiwa Aladekomo walked me through the company’s origin story, explained why he joined in 2018, and outlined its monetization strategy.
Social media is becoming a lot less social
More and more of the content showing up in your social media feeds is coming from professional creators you don't even follow, partly because the social media platforms themselves are prioritizing this content:
In the wake of the success of YouTube and TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn are all pushing more and more content made by professionals into our feeds, says Simon Owens, a trade journalist who studies the intersection of traditional media and the growing creator economy …
… By this logic, Instagram’s move to copy TikTok, which is in turn encroaching on the turf of YouTube by allowing longer videos, and the increasing dominance of professional content on all three, means they’re all turning into TV. Even Threads, the new offering from Facebook parent company Meta, is fast becoming a broadcast medium for news, as Twitter was before it.
The rising athlete-to-podcast pipeline
It's never been easier for a pro athlete to leverage their stardom to build out their own media outlet:
An influx of younger, more tolerant coaches and executives, as well as players who are becoming more business-conscious, has opened the door for several N.F.L. stars to moonlight as podcast hosts, including Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill.
Filled with insights about their performances, off-field adventures and the league’s daily chatter, the podcasts are a direct portal to fans and a way for players to build their brands.
Why media outlets are publishing a lot more climate-related articles
Freelance writer Clive Thompson explains why magazine editors are suddenly a hell of a lot more interested in his climate story pitches than they were 10 years ago:
It’s not like the magazines I write for are suddenly more flush with cash, or with audiences. They still face all the economic headwinds they faced in the early 00s and 10s.
But one thing that’s changed is the audience’s appetite for climate pieces … Everyday Americans are increasingly seeing global warming hitting them right now. They’re noticing the weirdification of weather: Farmers now get long periods of destructive drought and heat, punctuated by sudden, ferocious dumps of rain. Families that have owned coastal properties for generations are watching them get devoured by the sea. They’re seeing invasive species migrate northwards. Flights are getting more turbulent.
How new literary stars are minted
This is a fun profile of one of the most powerful literary agents in book publishing:
Literary agents are the matchmakers and middlemen of the book industry, pairing writers with publishers and negotiating the contracts for books, from which they take an industry-standard 15%. In this capacity, [Andrew] Wylie and his firm, The Wylie Agency, operate on behalf of an astonishing number of the world’s most revered writers, as well as the estates of many late authors who, like Borges, Chinua Achebe and Italo Calvino, have become required reading almost everywhere. The agency’s list of more than 1,300 clients includes Saul Bellow, Joseph Brodsky, Albert Camus, Bob Dylan, Louise Glück, Yasunari Kawabata, Czesław Miłosz, VS Naipaul, Kenzaburō Ōe, Orhan Pamuk, José Saramago and Mo Yan – and those are just the ones who have won the Nobel prize. It also includes the Royal Shakespeare Company and contemporary luminaries such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Karl Ove Knausgård, Rachel Cusk, Deborah Levy and Sally Rooney. “When we walk into the room, Borges walks in, and Calvino walks in, and Shakespeare walks in, and it’s intimidating,” Wylie told me.
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