Sara Libby’s on a much-deserved vacation, so I’ll be covering WWLTW in her absence. Strap in, friends.
A funny thing happens when you start doing a podcast.
I noticed it just a short while after I joined VOSD’s podcast as a regular co-host. Every time I ventured out for an event or ran in circles familiar with Voice of San Diego’s work, someone would stop me to tell me they liked the show, and immediately launch into a friendly rapport as if we’d known each other for years. Frankly, I prefer it. I have a limited capacity for small talk and I’d much rather just get in deep. My Twitter bio – “probably gonna make you talk about your feelings” – isn’t a front.
And listen, I do it with any number of the podcasters who talk “to” me on a regular basis – Pete Holmes, Alex Blumberg, Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller, etc. I’m well aware I haven’t met them, but I get the same sense of calm listening to their shows as I traipse around San Diego as I do catching up with a friend on the phone.
The abrupt intimacy isn’t just a nice workaround to get past social anxiety or find comfort during mundane errands. Feeling like we know the people feeding us news and insight builds trust and community. I’m not the only one who’s seen that.
“We have really loyal listeners who come up to us at public events or hit us up on social media saying they take us with them on the elliptical, or on road trips or in the shower (eep!),” Emily Ramshaw told me over email. She’s editor of The Texas Tribune and co-hosts its weekly podcast. “I’ll go out in public sometimes and people may not even read The Texas Tribune, but they know me because they listen to the TribCast. It’s pretty wild.” The lively format and platform lures in different audiences aside from “your traditional statehouse news consumers,” Ramshaw added.
Podcasting carries a little more freedom for its producers, which seems to cater to that personal connection. Heben Nigatu, one of the co-hosts on BuzzFeed’s show Another Round, told me in another email exchange, “it’s given us an opportunity to connect with our audience in a new and intimate way. The best part is we get to have all these conversations on our own terms, which is such a luxury given the media landscape! The most satisfying and encouraging feedback has definitely been hearing from people who are excited to have a podcast that represents voices, conversations and identities like theirs.”
I love that. In our case, however people are responding, it’s always secretly a relief to know they’re listening. We put a good amount of work into planning the show each week and, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll give it a try. Here’s our latest. Email me to tell me what you think, and next time we run into each other, don’t hesitate to dive right in with the friendly rapport.
What VOSD Learned This Week
• Attorneys at Coast Law Group have taken it upon themselves to police stormwater pollution by local industrial businesses because the state’s water resources board doesn’t have the resources (heh) to do it.
• Call it one less thing to be outraged about. San Diego Unified heard taxpayers’ concerns about using a long-term financing plan to fund iPads for students. So the district’s changing gears.
• At least one elected official believes the city is still letting SDPD sweep sexual misconduct under the rug.
• A nondescript junkyard in Encinitas has a tragic death in its backstory. Welp, that certainly kicked off our new series What’s That Lot with a bang.
• San Diego Unified is pretty clearly prioritizing school stadiums over needed school repairs.
• The fight over Civic San Diego’s future often focuses on government accountability and protecting neighborhoods. But there’s another major issue at play here: labor unions.
• The 49ers managed to pull off a complex stadium deal that’s required little from taxpayers. Here’s why that won’t work here: San Diego doesn’t have enough big corporations or wealthy fans ready to fork over $$$.
• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith won’t meet with the mayor’s stadium task force in private. But he has been meeting regularly with the Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani.
Tasty Media Worth Consuming
• Huge shoutout to Ashly McGlone, who joined us from the U-T a couple months ago. She’s been hammering out some fine reporting here on Poway Unified and local government and her standout work for the U-T was just named a finalist for a prestigious Livingston award. Read her story about an Oceanside teacher out of the job for an incredibly bizarre reason.
• Margaret Sullivan with giblets of advice for young journalists: “Be brave; just don’t be brave and stupid.” (New York Times)
• Ta-Nehisi Coates always nails it. If you haven’t read his short and powerful piece on Baltimore from earlier this week, make time now: “When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.” (The Atlantic)
• The “capsule wardrobe” and minimalist approach to owning clothes has been making the rounds this week. It’s brought up a lot of important questions for me, like if I wear the same outfit every day, what’s my new monthly quota for number of times I have to do laundry? Do I need an image color for my brand? (Becoming Minimalist and The New Yorker)
• I like Daily Dot’s concept of applying community reporting philosophies to covering the internet: “More often, the kind of coverage that [Daily Dot CEO] Nicholas White heralded as the future of community reporting just four years ago is exactly what legacy news organizations look for in what they consider their ‘tech’ reporting.” (New York Observer)
• I will read any and all stories on the nuts-and-bolts of the Onion. (Also “Saturday Night Live.”) (Also late-night talk shows.) (Just let me hang out in your offices and writers’ rooms, is what I’m saying.) (The Atlantic)
VIG (Very Important GIF) Lounge
I leave you with this, dear readers: your daily affirmation.