Podcasting potential: Podcasting is soaring, much like TV in the 1950s, but concerns are growing that a flood of corporate money will stifle creativity, reports Ben Sisario for the New York Times. Because of the comparatively low production costs and ease at which the podcasts can be produced, many actors, producers, and individuals are getting involved in podcasting. An entertainment form with limitless creative potential and lots of opportunity for risk taking, podcasts have emerged in the past few years for every niche interest out there. However, with an influx of money from advertisers, tech platforms, and Hollywood, there are diversity concerns as voices of underrepresented communities may be drowned out as the media form grows, says Sisario.
A threat to global broadcasting: The U.S. agency, which promotes free speech overseas and includes Radio Free Europe, underwent drastic changes under former President Trump, which have raised concerns about its credibility. The United States Agency for Global Media, or USAGM, promotes global free press, without trying to push a US foreign policy agenda and includes five networks: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Trump’s appointee to run the agency, Michael Pack, went on a rampage, replacing bipartisan heads of these networks with conservative activists during his short term. From a foreign policy standpoint, Pack’s actions raise serious concerns, since these networks have retained global credibility for four decades, says Yasmeen Serhan in the Atlantic. The Biden administration is taking action to make sure that the Pack’s unilateral decisions from his tenure can’t be repeated under another administration.
“Rightly” is a bad idea: Al Jazeera, a Qatar-funded media outlet, is facing criticism from its own staff after it launched an English language, conservative online platform called Rightly, writes Michael Safi for the Guardian. Staff members who have signed the letter objecting to the launch claim that it will deepen the polarization already ingrained in American media and “irreparably tarnish the network’s brand and work.” Though Al Jazeera is conservative when it comes to Arab politics, it is surprising that the network is expanding to partisan reporting outside of the Arab world, says Safi.