What is it about?

News podcasts have been growing in number and popularity for years. They offer a deep dive on important issues of the day, providing listeners with an immersive, explanatory style of journalism tailored to the morning commute. But what do we know about how this relatively new audio news genre serves democracy? Focusing on the Australian context, this article draws from an exploratory online survey to suggest that listeners view news podcasts as an important enabler of their participation in democratic life.

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Why is it important?

Few studies have focused on news podcast listeners as a specific cohort. With evidence pointing towards particular characteristics that are shared by news podcast listeners, there is merit to exploring what this sub-set of media consumers value in their podcast listening, and how they experience democratic life. Podcast listening in Australia is continuing to track upwards, as indicated in the 2023 Infinite Dial report from Edison Research. This signals a need for new research seeking to understand the social and political implications of podcast listening - particularly the burgeoning genre of news podcasts.


It was a pleasure researching and writing this article, and having the opportunity to contribute to a publication that is a leader in Australian journalism scholarship. I hope that it is of interest to researchers focusing on news, journalism, and podcasting, and to more general readers with an interest in public affairs.

Dylan Bird
University of Tasmania

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Democratic listening: News podcasts, trust and political participation in Australia, Australian Journalism Review, June 2023, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/ajr_00120_7.
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