Monday, September 18, 2006

The Guardian's Manchester podcast

I almost missed it, but there was a link on the I've Been There page to a Manchester podcast done by David Ward, one of the few lonely Grauniad journos left here. Billed as an audio guide to Manc, it it promises to "reveal how cafe society changed the city" (Yes, they're serious.)

I just listened to it, and can't say I'm any the wiser about Manchester's cafe society. While the production values were as high as I expected, I found the podcast a bit of a dud. It felt like a school field trip, slogging round the Museum of Science and Industry for an age. And the local experts they chose to interview were - surprise! - mostly Guardian or MEN writers, reeling off the usual suspects in culture, nightlife, food etc. I'd much rather hear from regular Mancs, folks who might say something unscripted, talking about some random club night, un-famous pub or the little curry place on the corner.

To be fair, it's nice to see the Guardian paying any attention at all to Manchester. As a regular reader of both their online and print editions, I frequently get steamed up about how little they ever write about the city ... unless someone gets shot in Moss Side or assaulted in Salford, of course. Unfortunately, this podcast is not something most relatively clued-up Mancunians will derive much benefit from, since it just tells us stuff we already know. It's clearly targeted at older, affluent daytrippers, who probably live down south.

Yeah, it's easy to criticise, but how about coming up with something better? Okay, I'm going to take a podcasting course next month at MDDA (The Oct. 13 one is apparently full, but they're going to do some more, so check their website.) If anyone's interested in doing some podcasting about the real Manchester, get in touch.


Anonymous said...

The Been There spread yesterday was good, I thought.

The podcast was to coincide with the north-west weekends supplement a couple of weeks ago. The Manchester one might be a little too close to home but the others could offer something new:

Kate Feld said...

That's funny, I actually didn't see the spread (didn't get around to Saturday's papers yet...) I found out about it last week through the link.

Bez? kinda predictable, no?

Anonymous said...

Many of your comments about the Guardian's Manchester podcast are true. But the podcaster (ie me) never boasted that he would give the low-down on cafe society. Nor was he aiming his pod at people here but rather at those out there who might come here. He will say nothing about shortage of time, a dodgy microphone lead and the nightmare of sending MP3 files via the net. Nor will he defend his own technical incompetence. But at least we tried.

Kate Feld said...

Hey anonymous Guardian podcaster, thanks for writing in. I understand the podcast wasn't aimed at folks in Manchester, but why not try to do something that is? The Guardian sure has a big base of readers up here in its erstwhile home, but you'd never know it fron reading the paper. That's probably why my post might have sounded a bit ornery. Though chances are, it makes you ornery too...

And you may have never promised to fill us in on cafe society with the podcast, but the lead on the I've Been There site certainly seems to. Yet you probably had nothing to do with that, I realise.

At any rate, you deserve kudos for dipping a toe into the podcasting pool. And I thought the sound quality/production was very good.