This semester, we’ll all work together to produce a podcast series about new media in which we’ll share our thinking with each other and with listeners outside the class.
Early in the semester, we’ll spend a class period developing a more specific plan for how we want to structure the series, coming up with a title for the whole series, and making some decisions about the process. We will also work together to record an introductory audio segment, which will go at the start of each episode of the podcast, and to design a logo and other visuals for promotion.
Read on for further details so you have a sense of what to expect.
Episode Rules, Structure, and Content
Each episode should be approximately 10-15 minutes in length. Once you deliver your part of the episode to me, I will add the series intro audio bumper, which will be the same for all episodes.
Your production will begin with the audio introduction for your specific episode, which will identify the title of the episode, its primary subject, and name the Producer and Assistant Producer. Then there will be the primary content of the episode itself, and finally a closing segment in which you thank your Line Producer for assisting you, provide credit for anyone else who was involved in the episode (for example, if you interview someone in the episode, make sure to name them in the close), provide the URL for the publication you’re analyzing, and let listeners know that you’ll provide citations for all of your sources in the episode description.[More details here about the episode rules, once we decide on them as a class]
For each episode, the Producer and Assistant Producer should attempt to schedule a conference with me in advance to brainstorm and discuss ideas and structure. I’m not going to make it an absolute requirement that you meet with me, in case schedules just preclude it, but if we can’t meet in person we have to at least touch base before you start recording. We can meet at whatever stage before recording is most useful for you — if you want to come in as soon as you know what your episode subject is and do initial brainstorming that’s fine, or you could also come in after you’ve done research and are pretty certain what the key aspects of your argument are. The goal of these conferences is for me to be in a collaborative space with you, where I can help identify questions or strategies that might be useful. I’ll also be ensuring that there is some consistency across episodes, so that the series as a whole coheres.
We’ll also set up a group Direct Message channel in the backchannel for communicating about the episode. You can choose how extensively to make use of this channel, but hopefully it will prove helpful.
What you’ll need to turn in
Once your episode is completed, you’ll need to send me a finished MP3, including your episode intro, the body, and a close. I’ll add the series introduction and then publish it.
You will also need to provide the following, all of which I’ll publish to Soundcloud along with the audio:
- A square image that is the cover image for your episode. (Your image should be a creative visual image that represents your episode — please don’t simply copy & paste the logo of the publication you’re analyzing.)
- A paragraph that describes your episode — it should both serve as a summary of the episode, covering the questions and issues that you address, and as an invitation that encourages an audience to actually listen to your episode. This writing should be clear, succinct, engaging, and creative.
- A list of sources. Any source that you explicitly quote in your episode needs to be included, but you can also include other sources that readers would find useful if after listening they want to do further research on their own. The subject of your episode will probably greatly affect the number of sources you include, but I’d say you should have at least 3 and no more than 10 sources listed.
- Image and/or sound credit listing, if applicable.
- If you do interview another person in your episode, you will need to have that person sign a media release form and provide the form to me (I won’t publish the form, but I need to have it). Note that the media release form asks the person how they should be identified in the episode — please follow the wishes of the person you interview and use that name in the episode and in the close.
The Producer and Assistant Producer should each also write and publish to their sites a reflective blog post soon after submitting their materials to me. (I’ll publish a prompt separately and link to it from here.)
Further Instructions and Information
Here’s a post with additional information about some of the nuts & bolts of producing your podcast episodes.