The podcast As It Is contains a variety of packages which all share a commonality, in that the stories produced reflect strongly on the community of Grahamstown, and do not depend on higher authority figures as voices which give direction to a package. While initially planning to focus exclusively on stories which represent the concerns of the average citizen in Grahamstown, vast aspects of this were covered in the podcast through the various packages and kind of presenting.
The initial planning of the structure of the podcast was done when the various story ideas for the podcast were discussed. With the stories being pitched, four stories which best represented the identity the podcast wished to exhibit, were picked. These included a story about the implications the closure of the Old Gaol will have on the cleaning staff of the backpacker’s lodge; the outcome of the municipal strike which took place in late August; the lack of development in local townships, and the opening of the Toy Library. The group decided to take these stories, and apply them to angles which would be of significant relevance to the average citizen of Grahamstown. I did the Old Gaol story with Angie, and we decided to identify three sources for the interview and also get ambience for the story, which indicated the Old Gaol in its prime, during the evenings when it has a vibrant atmosphere.
Planning the direction As It Is podcast was to take was not a very difficult task, as there was a need to create a medium of communication which reflects the wider community of Grahamstown, and not to centralize news on the local elite. In accordance to the agency document of the Journalism and Media Studies 3 Radio class, which I am a member of, the As It Is crew planned to embrace the tenets of the kind of reporters we wished to be. These included being social commentators, facilitators, entertainers and educators in our reporting, and the overall structure of the podcast. I can say that we achieved this in the pilot edition of As It Is, as the packages which were broadcasted featured commentary from the reporters about current pressing issues amongst the citizens of Grahamstown. The podcast also educated the listener, in the sense that is spread awareness to the plight shown in some parts of Grahamstown, while also educating the public about the deeper lying consequences of the closure of a local backpacker’s lodge.
The pilot episode of As It Is also covered various corners of Grahamstown. From the central parts of the town through the impending closure of The Gaol and the story on the municipal strike, to the opening of the Toy Library outside the central region of the town, to service delivery problems in the outer and poorer parts of the town.
As It Is podcast laid down the gauntlet, in terms of taking a look at news from a fresh, more approachable angle of news – that of focusing on the average citizen as the primary source in news. This has enabled the podcast to raise questions and spark debate, and search for accountability. I am very excited at being part of such a podcast.