Podcasts pose challenges beyond the historical applications of analog oral history methodology. Pre-interview etiquette, in-depth narrator research, closely monitored sound recording levels and interviewing techniques all continue to be valuable skills of born-digital oral history collection; however, as the Oral History in the Liberal Arts website points out: Choosing a Digital Tool to Visualize, Oraganize, and Publish Interview Collections is an important consideration at all stages of project development. As every seasoned sound editor knows from too little planning too late: the sooner the better.
Douglas Boyd’s Survey of Oral History Podcasts —like most things Dr. Boyd has endeavored to share on the internet — is an invaluable link for those under the impression that widespread podcasting use has passed its prime on the internet.
It should be clear that both professional and amateur historians have access to the tools of podcasting. As we progress into the future of New Mexico, like many other states, remember that such access is often dependent on digital literacy and Wi-Fi availability initiatives in rural and underserved areas. It should not be a surprise that not everyone under the sun has access to the internet. To learn more about broadband internet service in New Mexico, check out the New Mexico Broadband Map from the Office of Broadband & Geospatial Initiatives.
Rising legions of storytellers, such as Humans of New York, continue to redefine oral history as a medium of the people. Closer to home, Humans of New Mexico follows this lead with its own brand of community based public history.
Regardless my own lone-wolf tendencies, Oral History, like podcasting, truly works best from a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and open source approach. It is crucial to credit everyone involved on a project, and especially to remember that positive workflow is contagious to future success.
Another insight: keep in mind that your own success may influence others to adopt certain aspects of your work— this is a good thing. Use your workflow magic, or lose it.
Workflow is one of the most challenging aspects of collection and preservation of oral history recordings. In order to develop a connection intended audiences, consider and plan how to display your interviews for others to listen to online.
Kate Brenner’s website Amplify: The Oral History Podcast Network helps to serve this need for clarity by presenting podcast methods alongside oral history practice, an encouraging call for post-production balance before interviews rather than after.
One last note in time for America’s most contested holiday of privileged class leisure, the Story Corps Great Thanksgiving Listen explores oral history and podcasting on a macro level experience. Despite recent reports of sound and production worker unionization after complaints of inadequate compensation, it is difficult to criticize Story Corps without recognizing its potential to democratize public history access, and to show how everyday people can record and document their own story.
Regardless postproduction funding and community support, everyone should have access to oral history, podcasting, and storytelling from the heart.