Pick of the Podcasts #5

Welcome to instalment five of Pick of the Podcasts, where we explore different podcasts grouped around a central theme.

For each series, I’ll provide a brief synopsis of the podcast and I’ll also give my pick of one favourite episode, which may help ease you in if you’re a new listener or highlight an episode to revisit for regulars.

Today’s theme: Political podcasts

Code Switch

Another great NPR offering, Code Switch is a podcast all about discussing race and identity in America. The name comes from the idea of Code Switching, or of talking with one voice to one group of people and then switching that voice when talking to a different group. However, just because this podcast predominantly focuses on America, doesn’t mean it isn’t just as relevant around the world. A lot of these conversations are ones we can relate to, ones we should be having everywhere as race and identity are a global experience.

My pick: Can We Talk About Whiteness? There have been a lot of conversations about race over the years, sadly, we just keep needing to have them. But this is a refreshing change of pace, looking at whiteness, white privilege and how it can be so difficult to talk about being white. A great listen even if you consider yourself woke, there is still so much for all of us to learn.

More Perfect

From the team behind Radiolab, More Perfect is a mini-series based on ideas and stories that come from cases that go through the US Supreme Court. If you’ve ever wondered what the nine people tasked with making such major rulings do, this podcast opens up a little window into their world. Unfortunately, there aren’t many episodes in the first season of this podcast but each one is well worth a listen. It’s a bit like Law and Order for real. And luckily, if you get hooked, season 2 is rumoured to be coming out this year!

My pick: Cruel and Unusual – Sure, it’s not very cheery to suggest you listen to a podcast about the death penalty, but trust me when I tell you it is worth it. This is not the story you might anticipate it being.

The Inquiry

A BBC World Service production, The Inquiry is another podcast series dedicated to tackling current affairs, but with a slightly different format to others. Each episode is split into four parts, with each part tackling a different aspect of the question, almost like four mini stories rolled into one. While this doesn’t make for in-depth exploration, it does help to break down these sometimes huge questions into much more digestible pieces. The Inquiry won the Best Current Affairs Podcast 2017 at the British Podcast Awards and it is easy to see why.

My pick: What Went Right in 2016? ­ – 2016 certainly felt rough and frankly, 2017 hasn’t exactly been without its problems. So what better way to pep yourself up than listening to some heart-warming stories of what went right in amidst a lot of things that went wrong.

Talking Politics

Talking Politics is in-depth political discourse not by typical journalists but by a group of Cambridge-based academics with the occasional politician thrown in for good measure. These are the conversations everyone is having but with voices added in that, you won’t find in the news/newspapers. And it’s that variation in perspectives that makes this podcast a must-listen for anyone interested not only in the UK but politics around the world and is seeking a different take on the stories of the day.

My pick: Another Shock! – It may be cheating that I picked the most recent episode, but if your head is spinning like mine over what just happened in this snap election, this might just help you start breaking down and processing this crazy-ness!


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