Today in class, we looked quickly at a few examples of media that we might analyze for our podcast series. I talked fairly quickly through some of those and didn’t always give links to them, so here are a few more details about these. Be thinking about what examples you would most be interested in analyzing for your own podcast episodes, which is really far more important than the sorts of examples that come into my mind.
I played in class part of the video from yesterday where the vlogger Nerdwriter analyzes a Louis CK joke:
I also referenced quickly “How E.E. Cummings Writes a Poem” and a few others. You should watch all of the Louis CK video, at least, and glance through the list of other videos he’s produced and his FAQ page.
I also pointed you toward the podcaster and writer David McRaney at You Are Not So Smart. His episode of last week, “Avoiding the many varieties of bullshit” might be topical given our reading for today. There are a bunch of other podcasts on that site, which have also lead to a pair of books and other media.
Or, we might think about the comic xkcd produced by Randall Munroe. It’s led to a series of books and other media as well.
Or The Moth, which sets up events organized around a theme and then invites people to come up and tell true stories about that theme and then produces a series of podcasts from those events.
Tony Zhou produces videos at Every Frame a Painting that analyze how movies work in insightful and intriguing ways. Anything from “How to Do Action Comedy” by looking at Jackie Chan’s films
to “Composing Movement” by looking at Akira Kurosawa films
In a similar vein is Folding Ideas:
His recent video on the Kuleshov Effect is a nice analysis of the fundamentals of how film and film editing work.
Or how about the PBS Idea Channel, a PBS YouTube channel that examines the connections between pop culture, technology and art?
Most of the examples above (though not all) are film or literary sites, or at least a kind of cultural criticism. We might also consider sites like 350.org, which is creating a grassroots effort to combat climate change.
Or a site like Grist.
There are a ton of other sites for various kinds of journalism that might go here, so think about ones that you’d be interested to pay attention to. I think the key is to avoid simple political blogs or “blogs” that are really just basically newspaper columns or magazines ported into an online space. One site that might be worth thinking about along these lines is Talking Points Memo, which used to be a simple political blog by Josh Marshall, but has now grown into a much more complex (but still fairly indie) site that includes interesting examples of crowdsourcing, polling, a podcast, and a user forum that is more than just a simple comment feed.
Is How Stuff Works an example of new media writing?
Brainstorm your own list
I’ve got a bunch of examples above. Those are some of the sites that immediately popped into my mind as things that I would be interested in looking more closely at if I were going to be producing a podcast episode where I try to analyze how new media writing works. But obviously, those are merely some of my examples that I would be interested in — over the weekend, I’d like for you to keep a running list of some of the sorts of writing you would be interested in analyzing. Once you have some ideas, we can spend a bunch more time on Tuesday outlining rules for our podcast series.
We might tweak even this concept, but I think the perfect subjects for our podcast series will be examples of writing that are complex and varied enough that you cannot easily summarize what they are and how they work but that you find really intriguing and/or captivating. Find digital writing/podcasts/vlogs whatever that you would like to spend more time researching and thinking about. Your podcast episodes will then be devoted to explaining what makes them tick, what the overarching purpose, audience, and context are for each of these subjects, and what about them is innovative and promising (or, maybe what on the surface appears to be innovative but once you look at it more closely it turns out to be a more traditional media product than you had recognized). You don’t need to know the answers to all those questions immediately — but think about publications that would be interesting for you to try to figure out the answers to those questions.