Categories
Vol. 1, No. 1

Coronapod

Coronapod (Nature), hosted by Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker, and Amy Maxmen, releases a new 20-minute episode every week. Based in Britain, Nature is a premier source of primary science articles by scientists as well as science news written by journalists. The journal, Nature, has been published since the mid-nineteenth century and is currently regarded as one of the top journals in science. The organization also published many specialized science journals and has been innovative in online communication, beginning a podcast in 2018. Starting in mid-March 2020, many of these podcasts have focused on the pandemic and, while it’s not possible to subscribe only to those podcasts, they are clearly labeled with the title “Coronapod.” These segments combine personable chat among the hosts that seems unscripted but is informative and brisk as well as more traditional science journalism covering topics such as what we can learn from South Korea and China, what’s happening with drug trials, diagnostic developments, and whether masks are recommended or not, all with a focus on the science.

Unlike some of the podcasts that present science for a non-specialist audience, Coronapod is rather like the journalism featured in the journal, written for an audience of scientists who want to keep up with fields beyond their own, yet accessible to non-scientists with an interested in science. There’s no “let me explain this scientific concept in terms you’ll understand” feel to it. It’s smart, well-produced, informative and, as a bonus, features some lovely British accents. As one might expect from a premier science journal, it’s an excellent source of solid scientific information that is lively and interesting.

Fact-based: 5 of 5. It’s honest about what science can and cannot yet tell us, but keeps the focus on the science.

Host: 5 of 5. The three hosts seem very comfortable with one another and provide a human face to preface more journalistic segments. 

Production: 5 of 5. The hosts are broadcasting from a basement in London, a home in Sussex where a pile of duvets and cushions are used to improvise a sound booth, and an apartment in Berkeley, California—but it sounds like it comes from a well-equipped studio.

Storytelling: 5 of 5. Both the chat among the hosts and the news segments are well done and keep the pace lively and informative.

Perspective: 5 of 5. Don’t look here for political analysis or cultural critique, but if what you want is quality science journalism, this is your podcast. 

Action-Oriented: 3 of 5. This is news reporting, not advocacy, and it steers away from “news you can use” features to focus on “here’s what’s happening in the world of science.” 

Overall Rating: 5 of 5.