I have often been asked for my recommendations in relation to news podcasts (OK, one person asked me but don't let that get in the way of a good intro). It is a subject that Amy and I have made a detailed study of over recent months (Amy is the dog, by the way). Each day she demands walking and I take the opportunity to catch up with the world's news whilst we sniff out the local highways and byways. So I can now announce the winners of the 2007 International News Podcasting Awards.
The winner of the best daily news podcast has to be the Channel 4 Morning Report podcast. Whilst it concentrates on UK news it still is worthy of an international audience as it has developed a style and content of its own rather than just mimicking the existing styles of radio or newsprint. It has a freshness and a vibrancy which make it a pleasure to listen to.
The winner of the best newspaper-based podcast category is the New York Times with its Front Page Summary. No frills, no attempt to be anything other than what it is. But within the space of five short minutes you can get a good impression of what America might be thinking.
There are joint winners in the local news podcast category - Chicago's NBC5 News Podcast and the Denver Post All News podcast. It must be said that these were the only two entries in this category but they both deserve an honourable mention for nothing else other than their obsession with the weather. There is a perverse pleasure in listening to someone elses' weather forecasts.
This year the prize for making the most news out of the least activity goes to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM Daily Podcast. Getting 30 minutes out of the days developments in Australia is an achievement worthy of both note and award.
The prize for the most esoteric subject matter must go to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations' Editors' Choice podcast. Who on earth the editor in question is I have no idea but over recent weeks they have served up a truly esoteric menu including "the end of faith", "brain candy", and research into potential cures for hangovers!
That just leaves the prize for the most ridiculous news podcast, and that has to go to the CBS iCast which seem to be always in search of an even lower level to drag news reporting down to. At times one is tempted to believe that it is nothing more than a rather clever satire on American news coverage. But the chances are that it is for real. One recent lead story stays in my mind : "America's longest living ex-President is no longer Gerald Ford. He's dead"
So that's the 2007 awards. Any nominations for the 2008 awards - send them in now. Amy and I have a lot of walking to do.