Illustration by Max Fleishman

The New York Times will debut original podcasts in 2016

The success of 'Modern Love: The Podcast' opens up possibilities.

Feb 29, 2020, 9:24 am*

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Audra Schroeder

Riding the success of its Modern Love podcast, the New York Times is building an audio team to help create a new slate of original shows. 

According to a memo sent out on Thursday, the paper is bringing on a handful of staff to build out a new roster of podcasts, with plans for a “two-fold strategy”: 

[T]o launch a handful of shows with outside partners which, like Modern Love, have a strong prospect of quickly attracting a wide audience; and then use those shows as a platform from which we can build audience for shows produced within The Times that are as integral to our coverage as our live events and visual journalism efforts. 

The memo cites the success of Modern Love: The Podcast, which debuted in January and quickly shot to the top of the iTunes charts, as one of the big reasons for forging a podcast team. The popular column about love and relationships translates easily to radio, but Kinsey Wilson, the NYT‘s editor for innovation and strategy, told Nieman Lab that “the idea is not to take the New York Times as it is today and simply render an audio version. Modern Love is probably the exception, where we’re able to take the printed word as it was published in the newspaper and create a really engaging listening experience.” 

The names and number of shows has not yet been announced, but the NYT might be attempting to model its version of Gimlet Media, home to a handful of popular podcasts and public radio vets. Adam Davidson, co-host of Gimlet Media’s Surprisingly Awesome podcast, was named as an advisor on the project. This announcement comes as local papers like the Des Moines Register and Atlanta Journal-Constitution have started experimenting with longform podcasts, but the NYT is getting more ambitious in launching its own pilot season. 

Shows are scheduled to launch later this year. 

H/T Nieman Lab | Illustration by Max Fleishman 

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*First Published: Mar 31, 2016, 2:25 pm