Who doesn’t love a great story? With the podcast industry exploding right now, there are so many different storytelling and political podcasts out there it can be hard to find ones that you’ll love. But there’s also a growing genre of podcasts that use storytelling as a real and authentic way of understanding and grappling with the enormous political issues in our country and world right now. They’re more than podcasts retelling historical or political events; they’re bringing real-life people into the mix and making them the center. Whether it’s talking with the most vulnerable in our society, retracing historical tragedies, or examining the stories behind our laws, these podcasts excel in making the political and personal one in the same.
Ear Hustle– Ever wondered what it would be like to be in prison? Not the hyped up portrayals in movies, but really understand the day to day life of people in prison? Recorded inside San Quentin State Prison in California, Ear Hustle “brings you the stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it”. Since its start in 2017, Ear Hustle has explored cell mates (aka “cellies”), solitary confinement, racism, being married, and more. The second season comes back in March 2018, so catch up now!
More Perfect– For as much as the Supreme Court of the United States has impacted our country in huge ways, its process has often remained a secret from the public. More Perfect goes deep into the world of the Supreme Court to “explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench”. Listen to the entire series so far to get real comprehensive with the impact of the Supreme Court, or pick out certain episodes to learn more about a variety of issues, including gun laws, Citizens United, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Scapegoat Cities– One of more shameful acts of the United States government was placing 110,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II. The creator of the podcast, Eric Muller, believes deeply that we must learn our history so that we do not repeat the mistakes and tragedies of the past. Listening to all of these stories of oppression and hope, love and lost, brought this horrific part of our history to the surface in a powerful way.
The Impact – I’ve found Vox.com to be one of the most intriguing news and media sites over the past couple of years, and The Impact, their podcast on how policy decisions impact real people, is no exception. Built on tons of interviews and a deep examination of the system at work, Sarah Kliff shows how all of the arguments and laws passed concerning Obamacare, the opioid epidemic, and more have dramatic consequences for the American people. And, not wanting to drown us with only negative news, The Impact also provides some ways that we could do better and improve our policies.
Uncivil– At a time when our country is incredibly divided, Uncivil takes us back to a time when our divisions turned into a full-on war. But this podcast is more than just a retelling of the Civil War – it uses stories that have been traditionally left out of the narrative and brings them into the wider historical discussion of this time. Each episode is its own story, so feel free to jump around, or check out the whole series so far.