Northern Michigan University's independent, student-produced newspaper, The North Wind, has launched a weekly podcast series. New episodes are released on Fridays. Each podcast features a news story, a feature and a sports story, which are also covered in The North Wind's digital paper.
“What is unique about the podcast is that listeners will hear the actual interview clip that we got,” said NMU Junior Justin Van't Hof, editor-in-chief. “This provides the ability for people to hear firsthand what the sources are saying.”
Van't Hof said that offering a podcast is a group effort. He is joined by Sports Editor Travis Nelson and Features Editor Peter Smedley as on-air hosts. Sam Rush edits the audio and compiles interviews after initial recording.
“We have an incredible staff,” Van't Hof said. “Our editors really put in the work. Every Wednesday night we do production on the podcast. On Thursdays, we do production on our digital paper. We do everything virtually and have developed a workflow over a digital space.”
Van't Hof said that a recent goal of The North Wind is to provide news through multimedia platforms.
“The podcast is the start of us working on this goal,” he said. “Next semester, we hope to incorporate video content as well. The podcast allows multimedia students to work with us in content creation, allowing students to have more experience doing multimedia journalism.”
Kim Eggleston, journalism adviser for The North Wind, said that there is a need for multimedia reporters in the workforce.
“Audio, video and multimedia skills are needed in the field,” said Eggleston, a 2006 graduate who worked on the newspaper as a student writing major and journalism minor. “The North Wind Podcast offers students experience in doing those things, and it allows them to become familiar with related workforce technologies. Most media companies have a podcast or many podcasts. It is becoming increasingly popular to reach people through different mediums.
“Not everyone is going to sit and read a 1000-word article. Some might listen to a 15-minute podcast while walking to class. In journalism at large, there is a push to reach people wherever they are at. Reaching students is our goal at The North Wind and offering a podcast helps us better accomplish that goal.”
Van't Hof is a multimedia journalism major and a theater minor at NMU. He said that working on the podcast is helping prepare him for the workforce. His career goal is to work in the digital nonprofit journalism field.
“I am going to be able to walk into my next job position and say, ‘Hey, I've done this before,'” he said. “I feel good in knowing that. Having the experience of sitting down, recording yourself and uploading the audio was intimidating at first. My theater experience has helped me be more improvisational. All in all, it is a good learning experience, resume builder and segue in my multimedia skillset. I want to leave NMU doing video and audio in a compelling way, and I hope this is a first step.”
The podcast series is available on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube. Visit The North Wind's website to learn more about their news coverage here. Learn more about NMU's multimedia journalism major here.
The North Wind is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. Its digital paper, podcast and newsletter are published every Friday during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind board of directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.