Tag Archives: The Axe Files

NewsFeed with @BuzzFeedBen



BuzzFeed’s newest podcast is called NewsFeed with @BuzzFeedBen.  It can be found on the BuzzFeed website on the same page as the rest of BuzzFeed’s podcasts.  The podcast is hosted by BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. As you may have guessed, his Twitter handle is @BuzzFeedBen.

NewsFeed with @BuzzFeedBen is described as “conversations on the intersection of politics, media, and technology – and all of 2017’s insanity.” To me, this implies that the podcast is intended to close at the end of 2017. Or, perhaps it will continue into 2018 and slightly change its description.

The very first episode features David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He is also the Senior Political Commentator at CNN, and was the Chief Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

The first episode of NewsFeed with @BuzzFeedBen is a continuation of a conversation between Ben Smith and David Axelrod that was episode 136 of David Axelrod’s podcast The Axe Files with David Axelrod.  This means you need to listen to that specific episode of The Axe Files with David Axelrod before you listen to the first episode of NewsFeed with @BuzzFeedBen if you want to hear the entire conversation.

The second episode of Ben Smith’s podcast is an interview with Charlie Warzel. He is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News, and reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.


A Plethora of Political Podcasts



American Flag by Mike MozartIt has been said that the American political season is extraordinarily long (especially when compared to the much shorter versions in other countries). Some people become quickly overwhelmed by it all and choose to avoid all mentions of politics. Others seem to thrive on it and have an insatiable desire for more information. There is now a plethora of political podcasts for “political junkies” to enjoy.

Political Gabfest is a podcast that comes from Slate. It is hosted by Slate’s Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz. The show is described as “the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.”

FiveThirtyEight Elections is an extension of what FiveThirtyEight has been piloting in their What’s The Point feed. Each Monday, hosts Nate Silver, Clare Malone, Harry Enten, and Jody Avirgan discuss polls, issues, voters, and media coverage – with a FiveThirtyEight spin. This podcast may also include occasional reports from the field and other “specials”.

The Ticket – A Presidential Podcast comes from the Texas Tribune. It is hosted by Ben Philpott and Jay Root. Every week, they provide a rundown of the week’s campaign actions, and bring you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering, or commenting on the campaigns.

NPR Politics is NPR’s new podcast where NPR’s political reporters talk to you like they talk to each other. It includes weekly roundups, quick takes on news of the day, and reporting from the campaign trail. It provides listeners with an easy way to keep up with what’s happening this election year.

Presidential is a podcast from the Washington Post. It is hosted by Lillian Cunningham. This podcast is a bit different from the rest because it explores how each former American president reached office, made decisions, handled crises, and redefined the roll of Commander-In-Chief. New episodes are released on Sundays.

Off Message is from Politico. It is hosted by Politico’s Chief Political Correspondent Glenn Thrush. The podcast is about the 2016 campaign “and everything else”. Episodes include interviews with Jeb Bush, President Obama, Martin O’Malley, and more.

Candidate Confessional – Defeated Politicians Tell All, is a podcast from the Huffington Post. It is hosted by Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis who talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator, and other elected offices. It is produced by Christine Conetta.

The Pollsters is a weekly podcast hosted by two of America’s leading polsters: Kristin Soltis Anderson (Republican) and Margie Omero (Democrat). They offer fresh insights into the data driving the week’s biggest stories.

The Axe Files is hosted by David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He interviews some of the most interesting players in politics each episode.

Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr.


Could Podcasting Influence the U.S. Election?



2016 image by Alan ORourke FlickrIt has been said that Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign changed politics. The use of social media, specifically to draw attention to a particular candidate and his views, had never been done quite that way before. Could podcasting have an influence on the upcoming 2016 United States Presidential election?

In 2008, Obama’s campaign used Web 2.0 tools to organize supporters, advertise to voters (with videos on YouTube), communicate with constituents, and defend against attacks made by opponents. I cannot help but wonder if podcasting is what will end up being the form of social media that has the most influence on the upcoming 2016 election.

The conversation between the podcaster and the politician brings a sense of humanity to politicians who are most frequently seen in staged photo opportunities, pre-written speeches, and debates where most stick to a few key talking points. They get to show a side of themselves that they might otherwise have to keep under wraps.

When Marc Maron had a conversation with President Barack Obama on Maron’s “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast, people took notice. That episode got an impressive number of downloads, as it should have. This was the first time a sitting United States President was interviewed on a well known podcast. The conversation got very serious, and personal, at times.

This week, the Another Round podcast, hosted by Heben Nigato and Tracy Clayton, interviewed former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Another Round is a Buzzfeed podcast.

While some parts of the interview focused on policy, there were also some amusing moments (including a funny story about a robot that you just have to hear). In the episode, Hillary Clinton came across as a fun person to hang around with. I’ve heard it said that people tend to vote for the candidate they’d most like to have a beer with. Could appearing on this episode of Another Round influence “undecideds” to vote for Hillary Clinton?

The Axe Files is hosted by David Axelrod, founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In his first episode, he interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders, as the two shared a van that was on the way to a Chicago venue that Sanders was going to speak at.

The conversation between David Axlerod and Bernie Sanders was respectful, insightful, and direct. Bernie Sanders came across as a very likable guy. Being on a podcast could, potentially, make “undecided” voters want to find out more about what Bernie Sanders’ viewpoints are.

When a person listens in on a conversation between a podcast host (or hosts) and a guest, it can feel like an intimate setting. Listeners end up getting to know, and possibly feel somewhat more familiar with, the politician who was interviewed on a podcast. As a result, I think podcasting could end up swaying the outcome of the 2016 election.

Image by Alan O’Rourke on Flickr.