As part of the PodcasTraining project, trainings were recently held in Ukraine. Twelve participants strengthened their skills and knowledge in podcasting and learned how to develop, produce and distribute podcasts.
"The Great Migration" is the title of a planned podcast that was developed during a recent training held with media creators in Ukraine. It will feature stories about the resettlement of Ukrainians and about how Ukrainians are trying to integrate into daily European life and adapting psychologically after evacuating from a combat zone. The creators hope that by focusing on this important issue, the podcast will benefit others in the same situation.
With 10 virtual sessions spread out over six weeks, part of the PodcasTraining project,12 media creators and journalists took part in DW Akademie's first podcast trainings to be held in Ukraine. Experienced radio hosts and podcasts creators Victoria Polchenko and Volodymyr Anfimov coached participants.
"Frankly speaking, I thought that air-raid sirens would be our biggest challenge, but it turned out that the power outages due to Russian missile attacks were the biggest problem," said Anfimov. "But the team found new opportunities to join the Zoom training sessions from improvised locations like a nearby coffee shop with a generator or even a police station that had lights and internet."
Even facing such challenges, the trainings were held successfully. Many participants appreciated the opportunity to learn more about podcasting within a group of like-minded people. Due to Ukraine's critical situation, all trainees have chosen to remain anonymous.
"For me, these meetings with our trainers and other creators have become islands of safety and stability," said one participant. "I really appreciate the opportunity to gain new knowledge and create a podcast under the watchful eye of professionals."
Many crises, one format
As the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine have shown, during a crisis people need accurate and trustworthy information more than ever. This includes programming that provides reliable answers to pressing questions, reports that debunk mis/disinformation, and content that is produced and packaged in a way that is accessible and relatable so users can better understand the context and complexity of an ongoing crisis.
The goal of the PodcasTraining project of DW Akademie is to support media organizations and media creators who want to strengthen their podcasting skills and knowledge, including how to develop, produce and distribute crisis podcasts. The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
"While podcasting is not a new medium, we have all seen how recent crises have driven its growth," said Natascha Schwanke, director of media development at DW Akademie. "By moving into podcast training, DW Akademie is showing that we see the medium as a key tool for delivering reliable information to people in need."
According to Barbara Gruber, program director for the PodcasTraining project at DW Akademie, podcasts encourage more active listening and formats that often dive deeper into content and provide more context to important topics. Podcasts are also fantastic tools to experiment and innovate.
"The podcast topics workshop participants chose are highly relevant," said Gruber. "The podcast idea 'Don't kill. Yourself' is designed to help soldiers who are returning home to not be ashamed of seeking psychological help to address and overcome PTSD."
The PodcasTraining project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
From the frontlines and beyond
During the sessions, the participants learned everything from how to structure a podcast to how to draft a promotion plan. They were given tasks like describe your podcast in 10 words and learned about the relationship between a podcast's tone and its content. There was also ample time for discussion and feedback.
By the end of the training, each participant developed a new podcast idea that they could produce and release in the future. In addition to the psychological impact of migration, ideas included the lives of people with disabilities and their loved ones during wartime, documentary stories from Kharkiv, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deconstructing Russian historical myths.
"We had the opportunity to communicate with like-minded people and not be afraid to be embarrassed that we do not know something," said a participant. "Such an atmosphere of safety is very valuable."