• Course Code:  JN29.1.en

  • Term:  Self paced

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Catherine Mackie
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Podcasting: The Big Idea

Self paced

  • Circles
    Thomson Foundation



This course was created in partnership with The Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.


Podcasting: Prepping the Big Idea




Whether they’re eight or 80 people want to hear stories and increasingly they’re listening to them via podcasts. There are currently more than 2.2 million podcasts on offer*.  This course will guide you through the building blocks to making a successful podcast of your own.  A podcast is something your audience can carry with them. It’s portable. It’s intimate. Their life carries on while they enter someone else’s world. The Guide to Podcasting is divided into two courses, the first will help you target that person; to know and appreciate what it is they want to listen to and when they want to listen to it. You can then move onto the second course, Podcasting: Making It,  where you will learn how to produce and promote the podcast. As part of the process you will be asked to create a trailer (which is a short promotional audio clip) to promote your podcast, which will be shared with the Thomson Foundation’s Journalism Now community.  But for now, sit back, relax and we’ll begin to tell you the story of how to make a podcast.



(*Figure end of 2020. Source: The Guardian - Spotify credits podcast popularity for 24% growth in subscribers.)




  • You will learn what is meant by podcasting 
  • You will learn the building blocks needed to create one
  • You will understand the importance of identifying your listeners
  • You will learn the different formats and genres in podcasting



Catherine Mackie, your course instructor is an Editorial Associate at the Thomson Foundation. She’s a former BBC senior journalist with almost 30 years experience in front of and behind the camera and an examiner for the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists. She’s a former Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. 


Joining Catherine is a team of experts.

Top row: L to R


Dr. LOUISA LIM is a senior lecturer in audiovisual Journalism and podcasting at the University of Melbourne and has recently been named an Orwell Fellow.  An award-winning journalist and author, she hosts The Masterclass Podcast on Apple Podcasts which offers lessons in audio and podcasting, and The Little Red Podcast | Podcast on Spotify, which focuses on China beyond the Beijing beltway.


JAMES SMART is the podcast editor at Nation Media Group, the largest media house in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also a prime-time television anchor, and talk-show host based in Nairobi. He successfully launched two of Kenya’s top television shows, #TheTrend and #KTNLivewire.


PAUL MCNALLY is the founder of Alibi Investigations, a pan-African investigative podcast unit and training centre. They mentor African journalists in the production of narrative, serialised podcasts. He produced Africa’s first investigative podcast, the award-winning series, ‎Alibi | Podcast on Spotify. In 2016 he was a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard where he researched how community radio can use technology to evolve its news output. 


Bottom row: L TO R


JOHN SHIELDS is the editor of Checks and Balance | Podcast on Spotify, a weekly podcast on American politics which he launched for The Economist, the renowned international weekly newspaper which is published in magazine-format and digitally.  Previously, he was a senior editor at the BBC, where he created Beyond Today, an award-winning daily news podcast.


DVL PADMA PRIYA is the co-founder and editorial lead at Suno India, a platform that specialises in under-reported issues and multilingual podcasts.  She has hosted numerous podcasts from  Dear Pari | Podcast on Spotify - India’s first narrative podcast on child adoption), and the award-winning Pinjra Tod Kar | Podcast on Spotify 




SECTION 1 - Gives an overview of the course and an introduction to the course trainer and media experts


SECTION 2 - Helps you understand podcasting 


SECTION 3 - Looks at the building blocks needed for a podcast


SECTION 4 - Examines why it’s important to know your listener 


SECTION 5 - Explores different types of formats used in podcasting


SECTION 6 - Guides you through creating the best structure for your podcast. 





You can complete this course in 4 hours in multiple sections. 


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Podcasting: The Big Idea


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