Invasion of the Pod People
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Need a history lesson on the racial politics of the American barbecue? Or a primer on the 2004 ‘nipplegate’ scandal before Justin Timberlake’s 2018 Super Bowl appearance? Confused about Kanye West?
In each episode of their addictive podcast Still Processing, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris chew over big and small questions of American culture. Their incredibly wide-ranging discussions roam across TV, movies, sport, history and politics – often joined by special guests like RuPaul and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The pair, both New York Times writers, enjoy a wonderful chemistry and have extremely eclectic tastes, enthusiasms and opinions, making Still Processing one of the most successful podcasts in the New York Times stable. Find out how they do it, when Wortham and Morris appear in conversation at the Wheeler Centre in May.
Wesley Morris is a critic-at-large at the New York Times and a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, where he writes about popular culture and hosts the podcast Still Processing with Jenna Wortham. For three years, he was a staff writer at Grantland, where he wrote about movies, television, and the role of style in professional sports, and co-hosted the podcast Do You Like Prince Movies with Alex Pappademas. Before that, he spent 11 years as a film critic at the Boston Globe, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He lives in Brooklyn.
Jenna Wortham is an award-winning technology reporter and staff writer for the New York Times Magazine. She is the co-host (along with Wesley Morris) of the New York Times podcast Still Processing. Prior to working at the Times, Jenna was a technology and culture reporter for Wired. Jenna’s work has also appeared in Matter, the Awl, Bust, the Hairpin, Vogue, the Morning News, the Fader and Smithsonian Magazine among other publications.
In the last few years, podcasts have matured into the storytelling format du jour – with a little help from a certain sensationally popular true crime serial (ahem). Yet the surge of interest and excitement around audio features and podcasts has been gaining momentum for even longer, propelled by a diversity of formats.
Take the narrative artisanship of This American Life or the sonic vivacity of Radiolab; the topical deep dives of Slate’s Culture Gabfest or Phillip Adams’s Late Night Live; the animated storytelling of The Moth or Sum of All Parts; or the intimate conversations found in Death, Sex and Money or WTF with Marc Maron. The influence of these and countless other shows can be felt in today’s most interesting podcasts (insert shameless plug for the Wheeler Centre’s own successful forays into richly-produced feature-making, including Andrew Denton’s Better Off Dead, and The Messenger, here).
Beloved for their sense of proximity, their active listenership, portability and in some cases, ambitiously-crafted audio, podcasts have a unique ability to keep listeners in the company of their own choosing – and to render mundane tasks bearable. And since design show 99% Invisible’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns – podcasts have also shown promise in otherwise dim times for media businesses. What’s next for podcasting – and how could it be done better?
In celebration of all things audible, we’re bringing you some of podcasting’s best and brightest to share their thoughts and insights on the art (and business) of listening.
An alchemy of writers. An explosion of ideas. This May, take your brain out for a spin. You’ll meet Pulitzer-winners, YA stars, eminent historians, poets, rappers and some of the world’s best living novelists.
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