Arts

6 Podcasts That Go Deeper on the Headlines

There’s an overwhelming amount of breaking news to keep up with, much of it bad or at least anxiety provoking. Given the sheer volume, it can be hard to figure out the right balance between staying informed and maintaining your emotional well-being.

Podcasts can be an easy way to stay up-to-date without getting bogged down in hours of rolling news updates — there’s a slew of morning shows that break down the day’s news in a digestible format. But another way to combat news fatigue is to get specific about which stories really matter to you.

These six series all delve into a single news event over the course of several episodes. Some of the stories are küresel, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; some are local, like last summer’s building collapse in Surfside, Fla. And some, like the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, are historical events whose ramifications are still being felt today.

‘QAnon Anonymous’

A shadowy cabal of devil-worshipping, leftist pedophiles has infiltrated the US government. So claims the once-fringe online conspiracy theory which has, over the past couple of years, gone more and more mainstream. This investigative podcast debuted in 2018 when the conspiracy was still in its infancy, and has been guiding listeners through the murky waters of “the post-truth world” ever since. Hosted by three investigative reporters whose palpable bewilderment anchors every conversation, the show has since expanded to explore conspiracy theories beyond QAnon.

Starter episode: “Introduction to QAnon”

‘Collapse: Disaster in Surfside’

Last summer, a high-rise condo suddenly collapsed in the town of Surfside, just north of Miami Beach. It was an unthinkable catastrophe that left 98 people dead and countless others traumatized. It also raised a number of unresolved questions — “Buildings like this don’t fall down in America,” said Charles Burkett, the mayor of Surfside at the time. This harrowing series from The Miami Herald traces the events of that night minute by minute, before zooming out to explore the aftermath and ongoing investigation. Through interviews and on-the-ground audio clips, the voices of survivors, emergency medical workers, reporters and local officials combine to create a haunting and evocative portrait of what happened.

Starter episode: “No Warning”

‘State of Ukraine’

It’s been more than two months since Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine, escalating an eight-year-old conflict into a devastating war that has left civilians dead, cities destroyed and the world on edge. Given both the scale of the story and the reality of what’s happening, staying up-to-date on the latest developments can be a challenge. This NPR show launched in early March and operates more like a radio bulletin than a traditional podcast, with multiple new on-the-ground episodes released every weekday, each running for less than 10 minutes. Featuring reporters, aid workers, military personnel and civilians, the series explores the conflict from every angle, while also digging into the historical context.

Starter episode: “What Is Russia’s Plan B?”

‘9/12’

The Sept. 11 attacks fall into the category of what some psychologists call flashbulb memories: moments of collective trauma about which people have unusually vivid recollections. It’s the reason many people can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. But this series from Pineapple Street Studios focuses on what came after the flashbulb moment, and the losses that aren’t memorialized. Hosted by the filmmaker Dan Taberski (“Missing Richard Simmons”), “9/12” explores the ways America changed after the attacks, from seven very different perspectives. Among the voices: the creator of a sinema that helped spread a conspiracy theory; a Brooklyn business owner whose Muslim neighbors began vanishing in droves; and the staff of The Onion who found themselves tasked with writing jokes about the news in a post-9/11 world.

Capitol Riot’s Aftermath: Key Developments


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Trump allies’ involvement. Newly disclosed testimony and text messages showed how closely Mark Meadows, the final chief of staff for former President Donald J. Trump, and fervent pro-Trump members of Congress worked together on efforts to overturn the election and encourage Trump supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Kevin McCarthy’s comments. New audio obtained by The Times sheds light on the reaction of the House G.O.P. leader shortly after the Capitol riot. The audio, which documents his concerns that far-right colleagues could incite violence and suggests that Mr. Trump had acknowledged he bore “some responsibility” for the events on Jan. 6, are part of a series of revelations about Republican leaders’ private conversations following the attack.

Weighing changes to the Insurrection Act. Some lawmakers on the Jan. 6 House committee have begun discussions about rewriting the Insurrection Act in response to the events that led to the Capitol riot. The law currently gives presidents the authority to deploy the military to respond to a rebellion, and some fear it could be abused by a president trying to stoke one.

Starter episode: “Too Soon”

‘Blindspot: Tulsa Burning’

Despite being one of the deadliest episodes of racist violence in American history, the Tulsa race massacre of 1921 has remained a largely unknown story until recently. A vicious white mob (supported by law enforcement) descended on a thriving Black neighborhood in Oklahoma, killing residents, burning homes and businesses and damaging a community that symbolized Black prosperity and success. Since the event has generally remained overlooked in schools, many people learned about it for the first time last year, when the combination of America’s racial reckoning and the 100th anniversary of the massacre propelled a wave of new documentaries about it. The second season of “Blindspot,” a series from the History Channel and WNYC, is an exhaustive and gripping chronicle of the long-hidden atrocity, and the ripple effects it had in Oklahoma and beyond.

Starter episode: “The Past Is Present”

‘American Radical’

More than a year after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, much about the story feels incomprehensible. Investigators are still working to understand how the riot snowballed out of President Trump’s failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election and how rioters were able to go so far unimpeded. In the meantime, this MSNBC show offers an incisive glimpse into the mind of one person in that crowd — Rosanne Boyland, who was crushed to death by the mob. She had little interest in politics until mid-2020 and wasn’t much of a Trump fan. In just a few months, her friends and family believe, she was radicalized. Over the course of five episodes, the host, Ayman Mohyeldin, tries to uncover exactly how.

Starter episode: “Who Killed Rosanne Boyland?”

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