The premier of Media Talk USA

The Guardian’s first American podcast, Media Talk USA, just debuted. Warning: I’m the host. In the first monthly episode, I interview Arianna Huffington and I’m joined in the studio for a spirited discussion with Jay Rosen of NYU and Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal. Plus, Paid Content reports on U.S. media news. Here’s what I said about it at the Guardian site:

We need it on this side of the water because American media do not get the depth of coverage that UK media enjoy (or don’t) from Media Guardian and its competitors. CNN’s Reliable Sources concentrates mostly on politics and media. Public radio’s On the Media is quite good but tends not to worry about the latest news. I blogged sometime ago that I wished OtM would take on more current news but its cohost, Brooke Gladstone, told me that wasn’t what they were about. “If that’s what you want, start your own show, Jeff,” she said. So here we are.

And there is more than enough news about the news to cover and dissect. Listeners in the UK might be wise to look at the wave of destruction overtaking US newspapers as the canary in the coal mine. Over-leveraged news companies are going bankrupt; huge swathes of newsrooms are being wiped out; newspapers are starting to die and more will follow. TV and radio stations will find themselves in similar straits. Advertising is in for more upheaval than they dare to imagine. But on the other hand, entrepreneurs and investors across the country and popping up with new businesses and new business models for news and media. At Media Talk USA, we will jump off the news to examine the state and fate of media with a variety of provocative guests.

Please give a listen.

  • My wife said “nice start”.

    I’m not so happy. The conversation needed to be tightened up. Perhaps you think it is unethical to edit what is said, but this has to balanced against the pace of natural conversation.

    The BBC ran a bit a year ago showing how they did this, much of the editing included taking out pauses and hems and haws, but there was also a bit of removing repetition. I do think they go a bit too far, no one ever takes a breath during their interviews.

    I do listen to the podcast of OTM, but this is one of the few. What makes it work is the attitude of the hosts who are willing to mock people and show up hypocrisy. This is the same characteristic that makes Jon Stewart’s show work. I’m not suggesting that funny is the only approach, I listen to the daily BBC business report via a podcast and there is only earnestness on display.

    I’m not sure about the audience for this sort of programming. I can see listening in one’s car or while commuting, but listening to interviews on the radio means one can’t be doing much else: no reading, no writing, etc.

    I also find the information content per time required for all talk shows to be too low. I much prefer a few hundred words that have been thought about, but I see that I’m in a minority as YouTube and similar efforts bring multi-media to the fore.

    Perhaps you should do shorter shows, but more often. The BBC business news podcast is about 10 minutes and treats only one or two topics.

    The best part of the show was the real debate between your two guests. The WSJ editor defending her special status wasn’t allowed to slip by without comment, this was refreshing. I also think you should take sides, since you have strong ideas, there is no need for a “neutral” moderator. The mainstream media has plenty of opportunities to justify itself, so coming up against a bit of criticism is fine.

    Post a link each time you put up a new show, even with an RSS feed people may miss it otherwise.