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Selective Hearing


Towards a critical understanding of podcasts

If you’re reading this, you already know that over the past five years both the quantity and the popularity of podcasts have exploded. Non-fiction podcasts—particularly those about true crime and history—have cultivated devoted audiences. Yet these shows are largely exempt from the standards of veracity, sourcing, and ethics to which newspapers and magazines are held. When a podcast does plagiarize or get facts wrong, this often goes unnoticed, and shows that have been caught in the act haven’t suffered a decrease in listenership.

In this week’s episode, web editor Violet Lucca speaks with Hugh Eakin, a senior editor at The New York Review of Books and author of “Selective Hearing,” published in the February issue of Harper’s Magazine. Lucca and Eakin discuss the experiential nature of podcasts, their fan-driven culture, and the limits of fact-checking.

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February 2020

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