NPR Politics: Guest Review from Christine Hollins ★★★★★
Once again, enjoy this fantastic guest review from my close friend and podcast lover, Christine Hollins. You can see her other guest reviews by clicking on the tag with her name on it at the bottom of this post.
Here in the US we are finally within 60 days of the 2016 Presidential Election. Since the election cycle began over 2 years ago, I like many others have agonized over the chronic cable news coverage, pundits, and endless opinions appearing in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. During the primary season I paid just enough attention to know who was in and who was out. I reluctantly watched just one of the legion of debates of the two major political parties. I dutifully cast my primary vote in Early voting for Super Tuesday and tuned out. I knew I would tune back in, as in years past, once the conventions took place. I am a little bit of a political junkie, but this year I was in no way looking forward to either convention and wading through the muckety-muck to understand and analyze the current political landscape – enter The NPR Politics Podcast.
Hosted by Sam Sanders, Tamara Keith and a revolving cast of other NPR correspondents (Ron Elving, Domenico Montanaro, Scott Detrow, and more), this podcast provides a great service to folks like me by providing thoughtful review and insight of the campaigns. I started listening with their coverage of the conventions, where they had daily episodes summarizing and analyzing the prior night’s events. I have been hooked since listening to their coverage of the first night of the GOP Convention.
As of this review the podcast currently takes place in three formats. The first is The Weekly Roundup, released on Thursdays. It is a 45-minute episode covering the news of the past week with four segments, two dedicated to each of the major candidates, listener mail, and finally, “Can’t let it go” where each host shares one thing they just can’t let go for the week (politics or otherwise). For me this coverage is tops with their in-depth reporting, analysis and commentary. The hosts manage to delve deep without the annoying banter and narrow scope, sound bites, and sensationalism of the cable news networks. At NPR Politics the dialogue is refreshingly honest, objective, and at times downright humorous. A handful of revolving contributors each week keeps the show fresh, brings in new perspectives, all while simultaneously maintaining consistency and quality. The second type of episode is the Quick Take, a 20-minute segment which can be released at any time to discuss any issues, breaking news, or faux pas that may have come up on the campaign trail, e.g. Trump and the Khans (Aug 1), Trump campaign leadership changes (Aug 20), the Food Politics episode with Dan Pashman from the Sporkful (Aug 8), and Clinton’s Health/’Basket of Deplorables’ (Sep 12). Lastly, the third episode type premiered on September 5th in the form of Monday Mail. It is a 20-minute segment dedicated to answering listener mail – whether it be written, recorded, or even sung (check out the inaugural episode for more).
As this Presidential election cycle rapidly marches to its end, the NPR Politics Podcast remains my go to source for political insight and analysis. The tone, and pace of each episode enables the listener to get up to speed quickly. I get what I need and feel informed about the candidates (and yes, they have covered the lesser known candidates as well). I personally enjoy getting my political news of this news in a compact, easy to listen to format with balanced, non-surrogate/pundit input. This podcast has helped to clarify my thoughts on the election and as a result am able to have some more productive discussions with others. I am eagerly looking forward to their analysis of the upcoming debates as we head into election night. If you are looking for an alternative or additional source of political information I encourage you to try the NPR Politics Podcast.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss! Also subscribe to my twice-monthly newsletter!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (4 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (3 / 5)
Bonus points for singing!
Host Listen-ability (5 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
Humor (5 / 5)
Investigation (5 / 5)
Storytelling (5 / 5)
While not traditional storytelling, these are seasoned reporters who specialize in covering the news for a radio format and they are pretty great.
Makes Me a Better Person (5 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (5 / 5)
Start with These Episodes:
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Slate’s Whistlestop, With Her, FiveThirtyEight Elections, The Run-Up, Keepin’ It 1600, The Weeds, Slate’s Trumpcast, Off Message, 2016 Nerdcast, Code Switch
NPR Politics Podcast