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Nicholas Quah is one of the best podcast commentators out there. So when he writes that chat podcasts are taking over, it’s worth listening to him. “If the public face of podcasting was once thinky narrative shows vying for high-art legitimacy, these days it’s chat and interview programs that hustle their way into your life.”

If that sentence made me sad, this made me despair. “Many are either unafraid of controversy or eager to court it. The currency of celebrity is a governing force.” And then I remembered the shortlists for this year’s Podcast Awards, crammed with stunning narrative shows.

Of course there are what Nick calls ‘chat-casts’, two or more people talking round a table, but there are very few celebrities and little outrage-for-outrage sake. That cheered me up… the realisation that publisher podcasts are the protectors of ‘thinky narrative’ shows and a bulwark against the celebrity shlock taking over other parts of the podcast market.

Far too much of the AI conversation centres on the magical thinking of the tech bros or curmudgeonly doomsday scenarios. This from InPublishing is a really practical antidote, pulling together specific uses cases from a range of publishing or publishing adjacent organisations. My favourite bit in each of the 13 posts is the ‘three top tips’, especially from the publishers, saying AI is not a one-and-done deal but a long-term investment.

The crappier the coverage of the UK General election, the more this kind of story rings true. The national press fixation for dodgy bets, Putin fan-girling and centrist-dad fashion, belies a county-level crisis in the UK. It goes without saying that scrutiny from the local press helps keep elected officals honest. But there’s another angle in this story – without a functioning local press, it’s almost impossible for candidates to present local policies to their prospective constituents. That has seen parties are turning to social media and we all know how that ends.

*If you’re interested, here’s an interactive map showing what the parties are spending on Meta by constituency.

There are dozens of takes on the Digital News Report every June. This one from The Fix stuck out for me because it highlights the questions the 2024 report has raised rather than any answers it presents. If you’re scratching your head over what to do about platforms, search video, trust, reader revenue, younger audiences and AI, then this is definitely the article for you.

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