“Podcasts Can Open Your Mind to a Whole New World”




Civil Society, Technology

By Khaldun Al SaadiCarolina Sheinfeld and Ghada Zribi

You can listen to them while commuting, working out or you just to let your ears go on an auditory adventure. Podcasts are still a popular trend, and hardly any institution can do without them. Especially in the international field, this innovative form of communication and storytelling can reach new target groups. For this purpose, a group of GDL members participated in a comprehensive workshop where exciting stories from all over the world were developed. The workshop was facilitated by Kim Ochs and Jelena Prtoric, together with the experts Thomas Reintjes and Matthias Jochmann. Here you can get an impression of what the members were up to:

Khaldun Al Saadi – the GDL coffee break podcast

Everyone is making a podcast these days. Never has media production been so simple. Turn on the audio recorder on your phone, upload the track to one or several podcast platforms, and you’re done. But podcasts are so much more than just recorded streams of consciousness. They make an impact thanks not only to their content but also because of their overall aesthetics.

However, to reach an audience effectively, there must be a balance between one’s expectations regarding production quality and the consistency of content production – especially when the podcast is produced pro bono. Striking a good balance with, and maintaining reasonable expectations for, my podcast was the primary reason I joined the workshop. As an undergraduate, I completed a minor in broadcasting. In 2019, I recorded texts written by friends of mine who maintain a blog on Muslim intellectualism in Germany. I even recorded a short radio play together with my daughter. But it was the sessions with Thomas Reintjes and Matthias Jochmann that helped me understand how to conceptualise a podcast in such a way that the outcome is truly consistent.

Podcasts can open up a whole new world. I am very grateful for the various examples that Thomas and Matthias gave us throughout the workshop. Podcasts can be like a road trip to the lived experiences of many amazing people. Throughout my time at the GDL, I’ve met many people who have inspired me and helped me understand the world a little better. And that’s the idea behind my podcast “Three Times Five – the GDL Coffee Break”. I want the listener to experience the great diversity of the GDL community, enhance the visibility of those that contribute to societies worldwide, and give the audience a chance to take away something for their own personal or professional life.

Listen to Khaldun’s pitch for Three Times Five – the GDL Coffee Break.

Carolina Sheinfeld – podcasting for diplomacy

I joined a super diverse group of GDL members for a five-week journey to learn about the basics of podcasts and how to develop them for topics such as city diplomacy, person-driven foreign policy, social change and activism. This training wasn’t just about technology; it was about the power of breath, the importance of pauses and of background atmospheres. All this made me realise the importance of listening – really listening – with all your senses, and it explained why I love some podcasts more than others.

They taught us the basics of how and where to produce a podcast, as well as what technologies (software and hardware) are the most practical and accessible. Each stage of the process has numerous possibilities: planning, recording, post-production, finalising and publishing, and we played with different ideas, according to our comfort level. The workshop concluded with a case clinic, where all participants pitched a podcast idea and got feedback and tips from colleagues.

An interesting moment happened when Gina Romero from Colombia shared that since she normally doesn’t like how her tone sounds when she reads a script, she tried preparing the text in Spanish and then interpreting it in English for the recording. I thought that was brilliant – and it’s something I will be putting into practice very soon!

I have to confess that I didn’t expect to become an instant professional – but Kim, Jelena, Thomas and Matthias did help me gain a better understanding of the podcasting world. While working from home this past year, my husband often gets to listen to some of my meetings in the background. So, he was quite surprised when he (a film composer) saw the digital audio workstation Pro Tools on my screen.

And while there are so many great things on offer in the world of podcasts today, my proposed podcast mini-series for GDL is called “Cities That Care”, and I hope to launch it later this year, taking advantage of being in Los Angeles, a global city, that has so much more to offer than Hollywood. Ideally, this could inspire other GDL members to collaborate and develop episodes in their cities, too!

Listen to Carolina’s pitch for Cities That Care.

Ghada Zribi – highlighting African stories 

Data and information around the world are distributed in an unequitable manner. As an African activist who enjoys storytelling and podcasts that bring to life diverse experiences around the world, I’ve always wanted to contribute to the creation of more content that highlights African stories of hope in a number of African languages, such as Arabic, Afrikaans, French, etc. Thanks to the workshop, I have taken the first step toward creating my own podcast “$100, 1 Plan”, which highlights stories of hope. I am now excited to be hosting the first episode.

What’s special about podcasts is that they represent an accessible means for educating or informing yourself, no matter where you are or what you are busy doing. The diversity of the topics also brings meaningful things to life in a way that written articles sometimes fail to do. A podcast reinforces the human-to-human link for communication.

The main takeaways for me were that, to actually produce a podcast, you not only need to put in the time and effort to develop and maintain your concept, but you must also ensure that you maintain its consistency and do the outreach work over the long term. It also requires a certain amount of commitment and resources; however, it is not an impossible task.

Listen to Ghada’s podcast pitch for $100, 1 Plan.


About the authors:

Ghada Zribi is a pan-African peace and civic education practitioner working for various national and international non-governmental institutions and is also the founding Executive Director of iBuild Africa, a peer-to-peer support system for African youth.

Carolina Sheinfeld has vast experience in the educational sector and continuously advocates to generate systemic change in the area of immigrant and refugee integration.

Khaldun Al Saadi is a project coordinator with strong experience and interests in the fields of immigration, equality, integration and radicalization prevention.

Published on September 10, 2021.

Photo credit: Marc Beckmann

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