In an era of rapidly changing news and the increased value of wokeness among especially millennials, staying in the loop of what is currently happening in the world has become a greater priority for many Americans. Additionally, with the declining reliance on traditional mediums like print newspapers and TV news most Americans are looking elsewhere to stay in the loop: podcasts. So what are the best podcasts for news out there?
With almost one million individual podcasts out there it’s becoming harder and harder to wade through all of the throwaway podcasts and junk to find the real gold nuggets. With platforms like Anchor making it so easy for anyone to start a podcast the landscape has become much more crowded.
News podcasts are absolutely no exception. Everyone with an internet access can now declare themselves a “journalist” and start reporting on the stories they hear about and while that may be what some people are looking for. The vast majority of Americans prefer to get their news from reliable and time-tested sources that have proven their trustworthiness over decades.
What Makes A Top News Podcast?
An effective news podcast is one that does not require any fact checking after listening. If you are listening to a news podcast, your goal is likely to be educated and informed of the current events taking place in the world and the onus should not be on you for verifying the validity of the reporting.
When listening to a good news podcast you know that the stories that make it to your ears have gone through multiple rounds of review and scrutiny and that you are receiving the facts.
An additional benefit of listening to well-vetted news podcasts is that you are presented with the most pressing stories of today. These podcasts do not randomly air stories or arbitrarily decide which stories to include in the podcast and which to omit.
The final product that ends up with you is the product of intense scrutiny and debate on whether or not these stories were the most meaningful and relevant for you, the listener.
Therefore, the podcasts included on this list will not be coming from your basement journalists, but will for the most part come from established organizations that have been presenting accurate and timely accounts of the most pressing stories taking place in our world today.
Best Podcast For Daily News
Produced by The New York Times, The Daily is the best podcast for getting your daily news. This podcast was created with the American commute in mind because it matches the 20 – 30 minute average commute and releases every morning Monday through Friday.
From covering the latest presidential candidates to the current happenings in Washington D.C. The Daily is more political than most of the other news podcasts included here. This may have something to do with its massive popularity (the show has received over 100 million downloads) or it may have more to do with the brand equity.
The New York Times has been reporting since 1851 and has a long track record of publishing one of the most highly regarded news publications in the country. The strong brand behind The Times gives immediate credibility to this podcasts, and in this case that credibility is well warranted.
Arguably one of the most valuable aspects of The Daily is that it brings these seemingly far away stories a bit closer to home by reminding you of the real people that they impact. In a recent episode discussing the current phenomena of hospitals suing their patients, The Daily brought on a woman being taken to court by her health care provider for missing payments for her teenage daughter’s back surgery.
Through their use of both rigorously vetted stories and the accounts from individuals involved, The Daily is the top podcast for daily news because it keeps the listener up to speed with the events of the world while presenting them is a memorable way, allowing the listener to hold down current events discussions anywhere they find themselves.
Best Podcast For World News
Global News is produced by the BBC World Service, the world’s largest international broadcaster. Through broadcasts in 40 different languages the BBC World Service reaches over 200 million people per week with their world news broadcasts.
The podcast is a selection of the day’s top stories which gives the BBC World Service plenty of content to pull from as they are streaming 24 hours per day and continuously delivering the news to their listeners.
BBC has some of the most talented reporters and journalists of any news organization in the world so when you listen to Global news, you can be sure that the information you are getting is high quality and the most relevant to the current state of affairs in the world. Given the high concentration of talent it is no surprise that Global News is the best podcast for world news.
Global News releases two new episodes on weekdays and daily on the weekends. Episodes are typically about 30 minutes and dive deep into a timely story to give the listener immediately relevant information and keep them up to date with much of the world’s happenings.
Podcast episodes only last for 30 days after airing so if you find one you’ll want to go back to later, don’t forget to download it.
Best Podcast For Business News
When Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson started Planet money in the midst of the great recession it was not particularly well-received (specifically by their bosses). This is no surprise given the state of the financial industry at the time and the rapidly changing landscape.
The premise of the show has been, and continues to be, to create a platform where people without an economics degree could go for the latest business news in an easy-to-digest format.
Planet Money relies heavily on narrative and often include first-person accounts from individuals experiencing the phenomena or story being reported on, keeping the conversation light and free of academic-speak.
This is despite the complex and nuanced topics discussed on the show like the health care system in America, blockchain technology, and negative interest rates. Topics like these are easy to simply scratch the surface of, but the ability for Planet Money to dive deep into these areas while remaining accessible to the everyday person is what distinguishes this business news podcast from the thousands of other business news podcasts avaliable.
New episodes are released every Wednesday and Friday and typically range from 10-25 minutes, making this podcast an top choice for getting your business news on your commute.
Best News Podcast For Millennials
The primary difference between the millennial consumption of news and older generations’ consumption of news is the speed at which the news is delivered. Millennials prefer snappy, bite-sized chunks of information that they can bring up with their friends to improve their perceived wokeness while other generations are more focused on the depth of the news they are getting.
Snacks Daily is perfect for millennials because it delivers stories in snack sized amounts and makes the important details easy to remember thanks to the energized and outgoing hosts.
Compared to the other news podcasts mentioned, Snacks Daily is far more rapid-fire and stays at the surface level for the most part. In addition, this news podcast includes much more humor and banter between the 20-something hosts than would be allowed to fly on an NPR podcast like Planet Money.
The show releases every weekday and covers three of the biggest stock market related stories from the prior day “snack style” by covering the details of the story along with some speculation on the future ramifications of the story.
It’s clear that Snacks Daily is the top news podcast for millennials though because of the takeaway that is included after every story. After the details have been laid out, the hosts wrap each story up into a one or two sentence bit that is perfect for millennials to remember and reuse at their convenience.
Overall Best News Podcast For 2020
Another NPR podcast, Up First is more focused on the headlines than the details. Unlike Planet Money or The Daily that spend an entire episode diving deep into a single story, Up First is designed to give the listener the three key news headlines for the day without including too many details.
Up First was originally a spin-off of NPR’s popular Morning Edition segment. Clocking in at nearly two hours, Morning Edition was too much of a time investment for many NPR listeners. In fact 75% of listeners said they were in favor of a shorter daily audio news update.
The typically Up First episode clocks in around 10 minutes and is much more accessible for a commuter looking to get their fill of daily news on the way to work in the morning.
NPR’s expert staff ensure that the three stories selected each day give the listener the broad news landscape for the day without overwhelming them in the nuance of each story. After listeners get their quick news briefing from Up First, they have a better idea of the stories that are out there and can then decide which stories they have enough interest in to justify dedicating a full 20-30 minutes on that story along.
This ability for listeners to get a quick lay of the land for current events makes Up First the overall best news podcast for 2019 and effectively serves millions of Americans each month with their daily dose of happenings in the world.
Rom is a podcasting specialist, ranking his show in the top 100 for all business podcasts in only his first 6 months since launching. He is also the co-founder of Podblade, creating an affordable yet professional editing solution for podcasters. When he isn’t working, you can find him watching his favorite soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) in action.