You have been given the option of submitting a podcast for an assignment. You will need to meet all of your professor’s requirements, including subject approval, word count or timing, citation and formatting style, or due dates. When you come to the library be sure to bring the assignment so we can help you decide what you will need to include.
Decide on the type of podcast you want to do
One of the first things you will have to decide is what type of podcast you want to do. The most common are interview and narrative, but there are many other options. Your professor may specify, but some courses fit one type better than another. For a history class, for example, a narrative that is essentially a reading of your research might be just right. Another history class may ask for an oral history, which uses an interview style.
Do the research
Whatever type of podcast you are doing, you will have to do some research. If it is a narrative, you will have to know what you are going to say. If it is an interview you will have to know what to ask.
Prepare a narrative
Write up everything you want to say. If it is a narrative type podcast, write out everything you want to say. If it is an interview, figure out all the questions you want to ask. You will have to conduct research on the person you are interviewing in order to develop these questions. Be sure the questions are coordinated to draw out the story you want your interviewee to tell. Don’t jump from topic to topic.
Track your sources
Citations are not placed in the conversation, but you are expected to give credit where credit is due, just as in any other assignment. Your show notes must list these sources in the format required by your professor. If the professor does not specify, use Chicago style.
Rehearsal is critical for all types of podcasts. In a narrative, you will need to gauge how long it will take you to read your narrative. Your speaking must be slow enough to be understandable yet not so slow you sound flat and boring. This will typically be about 150 to 160 words per minute. That means that a 10 minute presentation will need to be about 1500 words. You should read your narrative aloud several times. Spoken language is very different from written language and you will need to make adjustments to your narrative to make it more comfortable to say.
Rehearsal for an interview is critically important. If possible, you should rehearse with your interviewee. It is always best to prepare a list of questions and knowing what the answers will help you determine additional questions. As an example, in our first podcast, the interviewee told the interviewer that he was from Italy and the topic of his research was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When the interviewer learned that he had learned about this Civil Rights incident in high school in Italy, that opened up an unplanned avenue for discussion about how the American Civil Rights movement is covered in other countries. Being able to rehearse with your interviewee helps identifying these paths (rabbit holes) before you record. That helps you adjust the entire question list, perhaps removing a different question to make room for a more interesting topic.