From the archive: podcasting during a pandemic
A podcast starring women athletes, produced by female journalists, is sharing the stories of Asia-Pacific sports stars who had been preparing to head to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
First published July 2020.
One positive to come out of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 could be the emergence of more sports podcasts made by women in the Asia-Pacific region.
The disruption to development from the fallout of COVID-19 has meant that the Women in News and Sport (WINS) program has had to rethink how it runs its media training.
WINS usually facilitates face-to-face workshops and activities for journalists, but travel restrictions since March 2020 have meant the training is now being delivered online.
WINS aims to provide women with the tools to carve out a career in the male-dominated world of sports media - and podcasting is a growth area in Asia and the Pacific.
With social restrictions still in play in many countries WINS leapt at the opportunity to leverage time spent at home or out of the office.
With many sports put on hold, it also provided WINS participants with a chance to re-connect to their passion for sport and tell stories of how sportswomen are drawing on their resilience skills during the pandemic.
As part of the course, the participants produced an episode each featuring athletes and coaches preparing for the Tokyo Olympics.
The podcast series "Pursuing the Olympic dream" released this week features stories from female sprinters, weightlifters, boxers, track and field athletes, rugby players, coaches and even an Olympic Chef de Mission.
The nine women from Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Vanuatu, India, Philippines and Indonesia have been mentored in interviewing, recording, editing and distribution skills so that they come out of the pandemic empowered to start a podcast of their own.
Prarthana Hazarika is a broadcaster in India and says the timing of the course has been extremely useful.
"The online podcasting sessions came as a boost in this hour of global crisis" she says.
Sports journalism worldwide has been hit hard as a result of COVID-19 with many media organisations forced to let staff go.
The WINS podcast training course has offered options to broaden participants' skill sets and give women a competitive edge when seeking employment and career opportunities.
The training was conducted via Zoom by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) podcast producer Mike Williams.
"Now, more than ever, we need to connect with the world and be listening to new voices and perspectives. I can't think of a better vehicle to achieve that than podcasting.
"To share and learn together with nine passionate, international colleagues through WINS was a uniquely wonderful experience," he says.
For Indonesian journalist Aprelia Soewarto it is a great opportunity to dip her toes in the water.
"As podcasting is still very very new in Indonesia and we don't have a special course about it from our respectable media, I am so grateful that I can attend the class.
"The sessions were very refreshing and full of insights. My favourite session was the distribution session as nowadays we are striving to make our content more relatable with the listeners," Aprelia explains.
This podcast training was based on a similar training in 2019 which culminated in a podcast called "Pacific WINS" about the Pacific Games.
The series was a finalist at the New York Festivals Radio Awards this year.
All work produced by the journalists on that podcast and this next series can be heard on The WINS Podcast available on most podcast platforms.
The Women in News and Sport (WINS) program is run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's International Development team (ABCID) and funded by the Australian Government through Team Up.