What Makes Podcasts a Trusted Source for News Reporting


Being current with current events is now an exercise. The constant push notifications that feature horrifying stories and roundtable discussions that include solely extreme viewpoints make staying informed somewhat of a nightmare.

With their rotating stages, loud and blaring graphics, and multi-screen backdrops, news broadcast coverage has become more of the sexy halftime show of old than the thoughtful analysis of the most important news stories of the day. This is why “Americans are watching less television news each year and printed media has been on the slide for decades,” according to the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

But people are still looking for an authentic message they can trust. The listeners are turning to news podcasts — which increased downloads by 45% from last year, according to Simplecast. The goal is to break down the issues thoroughly and reliably.

According to SXM’s Cultural Trends Study, released in September, 80 per cent of listeners say they “want unbiased and factual information from news podcasts.” The SXM Media’s most recent survey of its users discovered that 51% of listeners to news say that podcasts are trustworthy and reliable. This number decreases to 6 per cent for cable television and 2 per cent for social media.

It’s easy to see that people have come to depend on podcasts in ways they don’t have with other forms of media. In analyzing information, it’s apparent that several important factors have influenced this change.

Echo chamber no more

People are conscious of the political bias of the top news channels and the fact that the algorithms are designed to strengthen their current opinions. Although it may seem pleasing to feel like you are right 100 times out of 100, the truth of anything is a matter of debate and gaining different perspectives is essential to establishing an informed perspective.

Its Culture Trends Study found that 53 per cent of listeners “want diverse perspectives and opinions” from news shows, which increases for the most important segments such as Black, Gen Z and listeners in the millennial generation. The Stitcher shows Vibe Check to satisfy this desire with discussions that look at the issue from all angles and are respectful when opinions diverge. Host Sam Sanders attests that Vibe Check listeners “get to hear [the hosts] think out loud in a safe space and disagree without fighting.”

The discussion is on the specifics.

If you’ve been listening to the latest newscast and noticed that they need to be skimping on the details.

From consulting experts to citing important data and statistics, Shows, including Rachel Maddow’s Deja News, are providing listeners with answers to questions they didn’t realize they were asking. The result is a more leaned-in audience that tunes in frequently and for long lengths of time.

Based on the Culture Trends Study, 69 per cent of listeners frequently listen to multiple podcast episodes in succession. According to SXM Media’s latest survey of users, 77% of listeners to news are in favour of longer-form episodes of podcasts that exceed 60 minutes, and 85% are listening to them daily. This is a great opportunity for companies looking to reach a highly receptive audience.

Community-building and action

One of the most important differences between news podcasts and conventional media content is the implied appeal to listeners to think about how the stories might impact their communities and how they could change the world.

Publishers such as Crooked Media don’t just deliver the latest news; they also offer people tangible resources and practical solutions for the changes they want to be able to see. Brands, too, get the halo effect associated with being integrated into an inspiring environment.

For all we know, 92 per cent of listeners have taken action after seeing ads for podcasts. One in three podcast listeners says, “I go out of my way to support brands that support my favourite podcasts.” Be it being a poll worker or looking up websites of brands, viewers have a habit of following the prompts of their favourite news podcasters.

Audio is the way to go.

News coverage will always cover many stories ranging from heartwarming to deflating. However, how the news is broadcast can greatly impact how people feel about news. Podcasts can soften the blow of even the most difficult news stories.

You can ask 59% of viewers who claim they believe that “podcasts dive into [their] favourite topics more than any other media.” Remember, news channels have been one of the top options for reaching wealthy and educated viewers, but now podcasts are attracting young, diverse, high-achieving individuals who are turning off traditional media coverage.

With news stories breaking constantly, brands don’t want to not be a part of this incredibly massive audience.


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