One year ago today, the first episode of Malaria Minute was published.
Dated Friday 2nd March 2018, the episode shared the story of a small town in Kenya called Marsabit. Malaria had been eliminated there – according to the country’s national press.
That first episode of Malaria Minute set the stage for a further twelve months of podcasting; a total of sixty-four episodes have now been released.
At this exciting milestone, I thought I’d give you a Behind The Scenes look at how each Malaria Minute is produced.
Remember that you can listen to Malaria Minute on The Fight Malaria Blog or through the following podcast platforms:
The aim of Malaria Minute has, and always will be, to offer a quick look at the latest malaria news. Exploring scientific, funding and policy developments, Malaria Minute shines a light on the most recent stories.
Whilst the podcast does not offer the same level of detail as a scientific journal, it does offer an up-to-date and holistic view of what is happening now in malaria.
This first year of podcast production has been a time of trial and error and experimentation – finding out what works and what doesn’t. Here are some of the most significant changes:
- The title of each episode has been changed from ‘Malaria Minute | [DATE]’ to a description of the week’s top story.
- In recent episodes, links to the source of each news item have been added to the online podcast descriptions.
- Background music and ‘beeps’ between news items have been removed.
- The intro and outro sound effects have been replaced; they are now more straightforward and direct.
Behind The Scenes
It all starts with the story.
The quality of each week’s podcast is paramount. That’s why each news item always comes from a reputable source – like a scientific journal or news outlet.
Due to the nature of the podcast, each news item lasts between 10 and 20 seconds – this doesn’t tell the whole story. If you’d like to learn more about a particular item, you can always look at the ‘Source’ section and you’ll be redirected to the original story.
Once I’ve found the stories I want to cover, I’ll write the week’s script. This requires adapting the original material to avoid long sentences and complex words. If appropriate, I may speak with someone who knows more about the story and get a soundbite.
It’s time to record.
I record Malaria Minute on Thursday evenings for upload on Friday mornings. Before I record, though, I’ll do a few checks of the script to ensure that I’m happy with it and that it takes exactly one minute to read. Then it’s time for the first take.
It can take a couple of goes to get the recording just right and ready for processing. The whole podcast is done in one take and any soundbites are played live.
Once I’ve recorded the episode, it’s time to mix it. This involves making sure it’s consistently loud and pleasant sounding, not distorted. I’ll then export the episode and schedule it for Friday morning.
On Friday morning, it’ll pop up on the website at around 08:00 GMT. The podcast is then shared across a number of platforms, including iTunes and Spotify.
Here’s to another year of Malaria Minute!