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May 5, 2020updated 07 Nov 2023 5:42am

Coronavirus Journalism Excellence: Best podcasts of the pandemic so far

By Dominic Ponsford

Podcasts were having a moment in the sun before the onset of coronavirus and since lockdown they have become compulsive listening for many.

Here Press Gazette highlights the best podcasts and radio journalism relating to the pandemic so far, as voted for as part of our Journalism Matters: Excellence in Reporting Coronavirus survey.

The examples showcased below were selected by an expert panel of judges from the long-list of entries submitted by Press Gazette readers. There were more than 50 entries in this category so those highlighted represent the best of the best.

If there is some excellent journalism you have spotted which we have missed, or which dates from post the survey cut-off, please submit it for consideration in the second round of judging.

Other coronavirus journalism excellence categories:

Best podcasts of the coronavirus pandemic

Ouch – The Cabin Fever Podcast (BBC)

Damon Rose and BBC Ouch team

The Cabin Fever Podcast looks at life in lockdown with a disability. Press Gazette’s expert panel said: “We thought this was a bold and compelling listen taking on the main issues of COVID-19 from the point of view of people with disabilities but in a way which was informative and engaging to all listeners. It was simply done and was quite raw in parts but made for a very effective, relevant and, at times, intimate listen for all audiences. Kate, Holly and Scout’s Isolation Diary is particularly illuminating and honest, at times emotional and sensitive, at others joyous. Well done to all concerned.”

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The Economist Radio’s – The Intelligence

Press Gazette’s expert panel said of this weekly podcast: “Very well produced using the Economist’s in-house specialists to provide a variety of stories, each offering analysis, insight and some wit. A very easy listen, and a real showcase for the detailed knowledge of the Economist correspondents who each sounded like they were right on top of the story and its different dimensions. Great to get an international perspective on the crisis too.” Episodes looking at the demise of the cruise industry and the impact of Covid-19 on New York were considered.

The New Scientist Podcast

Press Gazette’s panel said this weekly offering: “Very well informed, as you would expect from a specialist science stable, and delivered in an unfussy, well presented and accessible way. Great variety and light and shade in the story selection and highly relevant. Intelligent, informed questioning. Definitely news you can use.”

Stories of Our Times (The Times and Sunday Times)

Manveen Rana and David Aaronovitch

Stories of our times is the new daily current affairs podcast from the Times and The Sunday Times. It has put the compelling human stories at the heart of its work on the coronavirus. For example, the episode on the situation in New York (‘Voices of New York’) took listeners into the lives of ordinary New Yorkers (nurses, doctors, cab drivers, grandparents, students) whose lives have been changed by the virus.

The Wired UK Podcast

James Temperton

This weekly podcast has been taking a look at various topics surround the coronavirus crisis including myth-busting and exploring the extraordinary growth of 5G conspiracy theories.

Alone Together – a coronavirus podcast (Laudable, JPI Media, Reach)

Matt Millard, Dan McLaughlin and Morven McIntyre

When the lockdown was confirmed and working-from-home enforced, the team of three Laudable-funded podcast producers who work for JPIMedia and Reach decided that it wouldn’t stop them recording. So they came up with a whole new show to help people through the crisis: Alone Together. Twice a week, they interview journalists, experts and hear inspiring stories from everyday heroes across the UK.

South China Morning Post – Inside China

A series of deep-dives were reporters on the ground reveal what they have learnt from covering the spread of the pandemic from its source in China across the world.

The Wire UK Podcast

Best radio journalism of the pandemic so far

Science in Action (BBC World Service)

Roland Pease, Julian Siddle and Deborah Cohen 

Since January the programme has covered each new scientific development in the Coronavirus story. At every stage it has interviewed key players and on many occasions featured angles which only later entered mainstream news. As Wuhan went into lockdown, it had Neil Furguson on air warning on what was to come (this was before the UK had taken any action) and the German pioneer of what would become the WHO’s approved test for detecting the virus.

The Coronavirus Newscast (BBC)

Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis

Presenting an informative and global view on the Covid-19 pandemic, this selected edition is presented by Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel and has replaced their coverage of the US election.

Read all Press Gazette’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the news industry here

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