The Secret Life of a Podcast Junkie

Here are my secrets to getting the most out of podcasts:

1) Subscribe to podcasts liberally, including those that you’re not sure about. Turn off the automatic download setting, and only download the individual episodes that pique your interest. If you’re not convinced after listening to a few choice episodes, unsubscribe.

2) Simply listen to all podcast shows in chronological order as they are published, if you like variety. But by sorting them into channels, you can listen according to mood, avoiding jarring jumps between the intellectual and the inane.

3) I always start with the news and other time-sensitive podcasts; everything else can wait. Since that’s usually morbidly depressing, it requires an immediate antidote of comedy and pop culture. With my mood reset, I can first venture into light chat, before flexing my empathy muscles with some storytelling, then finally ending with the most cerebral and thought-provoking content. At this point, I’m ready to go back to the news and begin the cycle again.

4) There aren’t enough minutes in the day to listen to all this content. So let the podcasts build up, and binge-listen on your next train journey, long-distance run, or vacation. Don’t feel bad about deleting the ones you never get around to. And for the truly obsessed, you can save time by listening at 1.5 or 2 times the speed.

How Diverse Is Your Daily News Intake?

In order to truly understand different world perspectives, I regularly dip into various daily news sources. These are my Top 9 news apps, listed alphabetically and selected on the basis of diversity of opinion.

It’s like attending an advanced course in comparative media studies every day; to experience how different audiences are being presented with the same story (or, on many days, entirely different stories) is both fascinating and discomforting.

But how else to navigate today’s balkanised media landscape? How else to maintain empathy (and create foundations for meaningful debate) with others? And how else to challenge one’s own unconscious political biases?