Podcasting for Beginners in Covid Times

By Janet Anderson & Stephanie van den Berg

Janet Anderson’s journalistic work centres on explaining justice and accountability mechanisms and building NGO’s expertise in media campaigning.

Stephanie van den Berg covers a range of Dutch political news, but her special focus is on courts, tribunals and accountability worldwide.

The Covid pandemic has had dramatic influences on all aspects of our lives. Working from home under various degrees of restrictions has affected both family and work patterns. One benefit that we have noticed as podcast makers based at The Hague Humanity Hub (check our podcast out here) is that more people are listening to podcasts. In parallel, more people and organisations are thinking about how to create them. And we’re not alone in noting the trend: Spotify’s “podcast business is continuing to grow” and across the age groups in the US the trend is upwards.

We will soon be launching a collaboration which has grown directly out of the constraints imposed by lockdown on travel and academic exchange. A group of researchers at the Graduate Institute in Geneva work on Legal Autonomous Weapons Systems (and they avoid the common parlance that we journalists like to apply: Killer Robots). Part of their research work is exchange and discussion. That’s one of the ways they build knowledge and gain insights into new developments in their field. But the rich mix they want to achieve via arranging conferences is stymied. Not stopped entirely, but the proliferation of zoom events doesn’t provide the kind of depth they are looking for.

Luckily for us, one member of their team is a podcast fan, and asked whether our team would be able to help them. We are communications strategists and have designers and editors within our circles, so we were ready to help out. Podcasting is a relatively simple way to hold a conversation. So we consulted with the researchers on a variety of ideas and ended up with; ten conversations; ten interviews; ten topics; ten ways to look at the autonomous weapons field. The ten podcasts all aim to delve into the big question: how and who do you hold accountable for any war crimes that such weapons systems may commit. The podcasts should showcase the big thinkers and trends in this field, help to dispel some of the commonly held myths, and encourage a range of people to engage in the debate about these issues.

We are very enthusiastic about supporting fellow podcasters. There are so many stories to be told, and so many different ways of doing so. Our own podcast on international criminal justice developments features women experts, activists, academics, lawyers. It’s our way to balance up the regular appearances of the usual crowd of (male) experts, who we as journalists rely on regularly to provide ballast to our stories.

Our dream is to set up a platform of mainly women-led podcasts in the areas of law, accountability, peace-making, human rights, so that audiences can find the broad range of material out there. So, if you’ve always wanted to make a podcast, and need some technical advice, or think that we would make an ideal fit as partners to get you going, just let us know.

The Humanity Hub is aiming to support its members and The Hague Peace & Justice ecosystem with their podcast projects to unleash another layer of impact. Make sure to reach out for more information.