Prof. Dr. Martin Zimper, Zurich University of the Arts

22. European Newspaper Award, Category 18, Podcasts

Prof. Dr. Martin Zimper is Head of Cast/Audiovisual Media in the Department of Design at Zurich University of the Arts. He is also a member of the jury of the European Newspaper Award. In this article, he gives an overview of the winners in the podcast category of the 22nd competition. More about the person can be found in this LINK.

Entries in the „Podcast“ category are increasing every year and clearly show the trend that print media companies are increasingly investing in audio content in connection with their newspaper titles, either by buying in producers or by establishing their own small podcast teams. Thanks to smartphones, faster mobile phones and headphones, podcast use is growing rapidly. As a mass medium, podcasting is still in its infancy and is experimenting with genres and formats. Mostly it is purely word content. The voices, presenters and journalists and the audience’s relationship with them are probably the most important success factor. Podcasts are not comparable to classical radio: something is created that is perceived as close, personal, intimate and direct.

Hamburger Abendblatt: „The Podcast Offensive“

In 2019, the „Hamburger Abendblatt“ launched its first podcasts – with the aim of reaching a younger target group and establishing the Hamburger Abendblatt as an audio brand. Today, the editorial team publishes 21 different podcast series. The spectrum ranges from daily news podcasts to football, art, literature, classical music, theatre, medicine, crime fiction, wine, art, living, obituaries, nutrition, sexuality and more. In total, Abendblatt podcasts have been downloaded more than 2 million times since 2019.

Each podcast is also a cross-media project: the conversations appear in various formats, including in written form, on and in the printed newspaper.

The „Hamburger Abendblatt“ received a „Judges‘ Special Recognition“ for the fact that the medium relies intensively on serial audio storytelling. The variety of genres, hosts and shows is impressive. The newspaper itself speaks of a „podcast offensive“: from sex podcasts to wine tastings, a female bishop regularly invites readers on a „blind date“ and editor-in-chief Lars Haider talks weekly in „Entscheider treffen Haider“. The top-produced content of the podcasts is distributed cross-medially, but also only works via the listening medium.

You can find the podcasts HERE.

Example of cross-media use of the Hamburger Abendblatt podcasts.

Example of cross-media use of the Hamburger Abendblatt podcasts.

The Standard: How to breathe properly

This episode is part of the podcast series of „Besser Leben – der „Standard“-Podcast zum Glücklichwerden“ – Better living – the „standard“ podcast for becoming happy – with Martin Schauhuber and Silvia Thaler, who test good advice for „living better“ themselves every week and report directly on their experiences. In this case: breathing properly with two exercises that listeners can also try out. The self-experience of the two hosts makes this a credible format.

You can find the podcast HERE.

Der Tagesspiegel: „One round Berlin“

The Berlin Ringbahn has 27 stations and takes 60 minutes to complete a lap. Once a month, Ann-Kathrin Hipp sits down with a guest from Berlin on the Ringbahn for a one-hour podcast talk. For example, she travels through Berlin at night with Kevin Kühnert, a prominent young SPD politician. The uncut format is original and innovative. It convinces with sounds and original sounds from the Ringbahn as well as the task for the guest to get into conversation with a passenger. Through the reporter’s conversational style, the podcast plays its greatest ace: you actually believe you are eavesdropping on the conversation of prominent seat neighbours in a public transport vehicle.

This is the LINK.

Handelsblatt Crime: The Wirecard Case

In a 12-part podcast series, the deep fall of the DAX company Wirecard is traced as an elaborately produced audio feature. Each episode lasts approx. 30 minutes and consists of numerous original sound bites and interviews. The series is part of the newspaper’s cross-media reporting, but also functions as a stand-alone audio medium. It convinces through journalistic research quality and immersive audio storytelling.

This is the LINK.

Handesblatt Disrupt

The podcast about new ideas and the movers and shakers of the digital world: Sebastian Matthes is head of digital at the business newspaper „Handelsblatt“. In a kind of magazine, he presents weekly reports, but above all longer interviews with digital and technology managers from companies, but also with academic thought leaders. Boldly focused in terms of content.

This is the LINK.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: Sinnsucher

What makes life meaningful in times of lockdown? During Lent 2020, the warm-hearted, folksy Cologne priest Franz Meurer squatted daily – 37 times in all – with Jürgen Wiebecke, a journalist with a philosophical background, in the rectory to spend half an hour answering the question of meaning on a daily basis. A deep conversation paired with Rhenish cheerfulness, consisting „only“ of two convincing, sympathetic voices, completely without packaging. By no means just a Catholic or Cologne podcast series that will remain topical and worth listening to in 2021.

LINK to the podcasts.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: The weekly testers

Sounds a bit like tabloid television: a famous TV chef and a well-known politician with 48 years of political experience meet weekly to discuss the news of the week. They also invite celebrity guests for the „Interview of the Week“. The podcast is professionally packaged, with an instrumental intro and a female „station voice“. Christian Rach and Wolfgang Bosbach meet celebrities like show host Günther Jauch or FDP politician Wolfgang Kubicki. What’s new and amazing about it? That all this is happening within the framework of a podcast series of a regional daily newspaper.

This is the LINK.

Kurier: Dark traces: The case of Friedrich Felzmann

The True Crime podcast of the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier reports on the Styrian double murderer Friedrich Felzmann, who shot his neighbours and has been on the run for three years. The series works with dramatic music, sounds and original sounds from investigators and neighbours, a journalist and a journalist narrate the story. Low budget, say the makers. But it doesn’t sound cheap at all, it sounds like professional audio storytelling.

Click here for the case of Friedrich Felzmann: LINK

Click here for all parts of the series: LINK

Kurier: Fake Buster

„Stay sceptical – but listen to us carefully!“ is the recurring credo in the weekly podcast series on conspiracy theories. Three journalists each look for facts that confirm or falsify these theories. In the year 2020, marked by Trump and Corona, an editorial audio innovation worth listening to.

This is the LINK.

NZZ am Sonntag: Sihlquai

A five-part podcast documenting a drama on the drug street at Zurich’s Sihlquai: Prostitutes and drug addicts were either found missing or murdered. There is still no trace of the perpetrators. The podcast reopens the case. Elaborately produced feature in which you can hear that crime novelist Christine Brand, sound designer Simon Meyer and podcast producer This Wachter worked together and produced for several weeks.

This is the LINK.

NZZ am Sonntag: Missing: Ursula Koch

Ursula Koch was the first female party president of the Swiss Social Democratic Party. After internal disputes, she radically withdrew from public life 20 years ago. Until today. The six-part podcast series asks: Where is Ursula Koch? The series works with all the acoustic means available to audio media. You can hear: this was produced with a great deal of production and research effort. Dramaturgy and production quality are top notch.

This is the LINK.

Politiken: Podcast Daily

The best news story of the day is presented in an interview with a journalist. A very personal kind of storytelling comes about this way: the angry music critic, the stunned USA correspondent, the excited political reporter sits acoustically opposite you as if at your own living room table.

This is the LINK.

Sindelfinger Zeitung/ Böblinger Zeitung: Willi and Dödel

Sindelfing and Böblingen are neighbouring communities whose inhabitants love and hate each other at the same time. Dirk „Dödel“ Hamann and Jürgen „Willi“ Wegner are local editors in both towns. In the podcast they play with this contrast, comment on local news and interview the man or woman of the week. This is how local journalism works as a weekly audio file.

This is the LINK.

Published on 23 February 2021 at