Guidelines for Reviewing Podcasts and Podcast Series
The reviewing of podcasts is a new and developing genre of academic review. The editors of H-Podcast would like reviewers to read/look over the following guidelines before writing a podcast review.
1. All podcast reviews are to follow the H-Net Guidelines and Standards. They should also familiarize themselves with the Style Sheet for Reviews. Please note, however, that some style suggestions might differ with reviews of digital media content.
2. Correct formatting of citations and bibliography references for podcasts change with each edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, so the most recent edition should be consulted. According to the 17th Edition the following represents a podcast citation:
Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen, “#655: Thor: Ragnarok / Top 5 Superhero Costumes,” November 3, 2017, in Filmspotting, produced by Sam Van Hallgren and Joe DeCeault, podcast, MP3 audio, 1:36.08, https://www.filmspotting.net/episodes-archive/2017/11/3/655-thor-ragnarok-top-5-superhero-costumes
Entire Podcast Series
Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen, et al. Filmspotting, 2005-2020, produced by Sam Van Hallgren and Joe DeCeault, podcast, MP3 audio, https://www.filmspotting.net/
3. For short podcast series, the reviewer is expected to listen to and address the entire series. For series that have an extended, multiple-season arc or are continuously ongoing podcasts, a reviewer must come to some justification for the number of episodes to consider before writing the review. It is recommended that the reviewer consult with the H-Podcast Review Editor on his/her/their selection method for the podcast series under review.
4. The reviewer should disclose or describe within the review the sample of episodes consulted. An explanation of the rationale for this selection will help the reader understand why these episodes formed the basis of the review.
5. Academic reviews of books serve an additional peer review function in the academy. For born-digital scholarship, like podcasts, an academic review might be the only or one of the few opportunities a scholar or team of scholars might have to receive critical praise, scrutiny, or evaluation of their creative and research production. Peer review is the backbone of tenure and promotion, so the reviewer should be sure to include in the review the significance (if any) and greater contribution a podcast series might offer.
6. For additional guidance, the reviewer may wish to consult the “Introduction” of Scholarly Podcasting Open Peer Review by Siobhan McMenemy. It contains a helpful discussion of how to approach reviewing a podcast as the production of a body of knowledge and how there might be value in evaluating how an academic podcast might compare to an academic book or article.
7. Beyond the dissemination of new knowledge, the reviewer may want to consider issues related to the production of the podcast itself. If appropriate, such considerations may include:
- Any aural atmosphere or sound design related to creating a sense of space or environment for the listener;
- Questions related to accessibility;
- How many viewing platforms house the podcast;
- Any closed captioning options;
- The homepage and any ways that it adds to the podcast or creates a sense of a podcast community, including through social media or live events;
- The availability of the podcast archive or any additional materials, primary sources, or scholarly apparatus;
- The accessibility of the host(s)’ biographies and list of the production staff.
8. Production quality, inventiveness, and interactivity can be explored in the podcast review if these are important elements of the podcast. However, reviewers should likewise be cognizant of the different forms of institutional funding and support that different podcasts receive, and be sure to consider whether a podcast is produced independently, with minimal institutional support, or with the support of a commercial network.