RadioLab discusses photojournalism; other podcast recommendations

Radiolab is usually an interesting listen. Sometimes the sound design is a bit much and sometimes the “gee whiz” presentation of science gets tiresome, but the subjects are almost always worth the time. The most recent episode (available wherever you find podcasts, embedded above, or here) discusses a particular set of photos taken by Lynsey Addario in Afghanistan in 2009 and you should take the 30 minutes to listen.

Unlike Addario’s other recent media appearances, the discussion focuses much less on her career and life and instead considers the nature of photojournalism, what it means to those depicted in the pictures, and who gets to decide what pictures get published and seen. You can see some of the pictures from the day at the end of this Time gallery.

On the subject of podcasts, here’s a few I’ve been listening to recently that you might want to check out:

  • RadioLab was an inspiration for my work photographing China’s zoos; make sure to listen to the early episodes of the show. Seasons 1 through 4 are my favorite.
  • Everything is Stories is a new podcast focusing on individuals or events on the edge of society. Their first episode, of particular interest to our audience, looks at the lives of a cameraman who worked on the TV show Cops and a photographer who is a crime scene specialist in the American southwest.
  • Here Be Monsters is “a podcast about the unknown” and often features stories from the northwestern US, where I spent much of my life. I first listened when our friend Pete Brook was interviewed for an episode. Episode 6, Clever Hans, is a particularly good entry point, but there are many more episodes to choose from.
  • Criminal is a podcast about crime, but it’s never quite what you’d expect. I really liked their recent episode Final Exit.
  • Love + Radio tackles all sorts of subjects, and the stories are usually emotionally complicated. The episode I tell most people about is The Silver Dollar, about a black man who befriended members of the KKK. The Wisdom of Jay Thunderbolt is also a standout.
  • The LPV Show is Bryan Formhals‘ podcast featuring interviews with photographers. It’s a good listen and much better than you’d think a podcast of interviews with photographers would be.
  • Finish Line, produced by the Boston Globe and WBUR, is a short-form podcast that recaps the day’s events in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev. The trial is now in the penalty phase, but the podcast is still worth listening to. The two hosts spend about 10 minutes talking about what happens in the courtroom each day. It strikes me as a great way to report this trial and their podcasts always add a little bit of historical or emotional weight to what you’d see in other news reports.
  • A Life Well Wasted was a short-lived podcast about video games. I’m not an avid video game player and this podcast is what you’d think a podcast about video games would be like. There are only 7 episodes.
  • The Memory Palace is a podcast about history, usually in chunks less than 10 minutes. Again, it’s not what you’d expect from a history podcast…much more impressionistic and emotional. Check out 400,000 Stars, an episode that caught my attention recently.
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