- How long have you been creating podcasts? When did this start?
- Rappler’s investigative and research section, Newsbreak, began creating podcasts in 2015, with this pilot episode: (http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/rich-media/88881-podcast-investigative- reporting-101-marites-vitug). There have been several episodes posted weekly after that; and that can check out with a list on Soundcloud: (https://soundcloud.com/rappler/sets/theinside track). Meanwhile, last year, the company has also published audio readings of some of their narrative and longform stories, called Newsbreak Voices.
- As publishers of podcasts, what challenges do you face in the age of digital media?
- It’s similar to the challenges faced by most online media: engaging readers as well as catching – and retaining – their attention. Despite the continued popularity of radio nationwide, its “online counterpart” through internet-based radio and podcasts don’t seem to be catching on as well. The challenge is to create podcasts on a topic or issue that people would be interested to listen to, and to keep their attention all the way until the end of the episode.
- Why did you choose podcasts as your medium of content?
- Rappler is a multimedia news agency, hence their constant experimenting with new forms of storytelling. Podcasts complement their text and video stories, in that they can provide analysis or points for discussion through an interview-type format. They also wanted to cater to the Rappler audience who may prefer to listen to their stories on the go, in case they missed them on the Rappler website. They have envisioned that their audience would listen to their podcasts and audio stories while stuck in traffic, on their commute, while mobile, etc.
- Due to the number of digital users at present, how large is the audience for your platform?
- You can gauge this with the number of page hits on our podcast landing pages and the number of plays on our Soundcloud tracks. For our previous episodes, we average about 200 plays per track, with the number increasing as weeks go by, and particularly if the topic is timely or compelling.
- What made you stay in Rappler?
- Katerina Francisco has been with Rappler for 5 years already. She joined the company a few months after it was first launched. She believes in the work that they do, as well as the credibility, integrity, and news judgment of her editors and colleagues. Rappler is constantly pushing the boundaries of storytelling and journalism, and they have the freedom to pursue stories and issues they are all passionate about.
- How do you define success in the digital domain? And how do you measure such success with regard to your podcasts?
- The easiest way to gauge it, of course, is through hits, page views, comments, reader engagement, and social media rankings. However, that is just one measure of success. The bigger success for them is having their stories be the catalyst for discussion that could have an impact on the way policies are crafted in this country.
They are hoping to apply the same metrics of success with their podcasts too, but the reality is they get fewer hits and listener plays on podcasts than on their text stories.
- Do you think that those who create podcasts can rise in the digital domain?
- The challenge is to come up with a format that is new, refreshing, and can address the problem of capturing listeners’ attention. Internet speed is also a big issue, as most of Rappler’s audience prefer to read text stories because the loading time isn’t as long as an audio file.
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