Podcasts Bringing Attention to Foreign Policy
Over the years, there has been a shift in popularity from traditional media to mass media outlets—specifically podcasts. Whether for entertainment or education, podcasts help leave listeners with engaging and insightful information. Here are five podcasts bringing attention to foreign policy and international relations in the United States.

5 Podcasts Bringing Attention to Foreign Policy

  1. Fault Lines: The National Security Institute’s (NSI) “Fault Lines” explores hard-hitting national security and foreign policy issues with guests representing both sides of the political spectrum. This foreign policy podcast features four recurring hosts; NSI Founder and Executive Director Jamil N. Jaffer, NSI Senior Fellow and former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Lester Munson, Former Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jod Herman and Former Senior Democratic Staffer for the Middle East on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Dana Stroul. With over 40 episodes, the podcast covers topics some topics including attempted coups and virus crackdowns in Latin America; the United States’ approach to international agreements and treaties; and U.S.-Iran relations. Some episodes to check out related to foreign aid are episode 14, “Can the U.S. solve foreign crises before they start?” and episode 19, “Aid in the time of COVID.”
  2. Global Dispatches: One of the podcasts bringing attention to foreign policy is “Global Dispatches.” This show is hosted by Mark Leon Goldberg. He is the editor of the United Nations global affairs blog “UN Dispatch.” He invites guests ranging from journalists to Nobel Peace Prize winners to discuss minimally covered global issues. This foreign policy podcast is committed to having an equal number and men and women appear as guests. Examples of guests include journalist Robin Wright, political policymaker U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and scholar Joseph Nye. This podcast features episodes dating back to 2013. It covers topics like the “girl effect” in international development. It also talks about the impact of energy poverty on job growth in the developing world and the consequences of others excluding women from peace talks. An episode to listen to related to foreign aid and global poverty is episode 235, “How better data can fight global hunger.” One could also listen to episode 283, “New trends in global trade are changing how women work in developing countries.”
  3. Pod Save the World: “Pod Save the World” is another one of the podcasts bringing attention to foreign policy. This weekly podcast breaks down the latest developments in international news and foreign policy. Former member of President Obama’s National Security Council Tommy Vietor and former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes host “Pod Save the World,” interviewing experts on foreign policy issues as well as witnesses of major political decisions. With weekly episodes airing since January 2017, this podcast has covered a variety of topics with numerous guests. One notable episode addressing women’s involvement in foreign affairs is episode six, titled “Running the state department with Heather Higginbottom.” This talk discusses Higginbottom’s journey to becoming the first woman to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. It also contains topics like refugee vetting, pandemic response and current women in foreign policy.
  4. The President’s Inbox: Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, host James M. Lindsay delves into a variety of foreign policy challenges facing U.S. President Donald J. Trump during his time in office. Each week, Lindsay invites two experts on a specific foreign policy issue to discuss their opinions on how to solve it. This foreign policy podcast is recorded and uploaded until the week of the Iowa caucuses. Topics covered include the effects of the coronavirus in the Middle East, the challenging landscape of domestic terrorism and the impact of women in political power. A few episodes to check out relating to the United States’ involvement with developing countries include episode five, “Should the United States do Less Overseas?” and episode 27, “U.S. Global Leadership Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.”
  5. Foreign Podicy: Host Cliff May discusses U.S. national security and foreign policy on his podcast “Foreign Podicy.” May is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute created after 9/11 dedicated to national security. This podcast offers over 60 episodes covering regions like the Middle East, South America and Central Asia as well as issues such as the use of military power, extremism and socialism. A few episodes related to developing countries include episode 28, “The Uses of Military Power,” episode 39, “Syria’s Sorrow and Pity,” and episode 59, “The Failing State of Lebanon.”

With the popularity of podcasts continually rising, the topics they cover are endless. With the help of these podcasts bringing attention to foreign policy, listeners gain unique perspectives on issues all over the world.

– Sara Holm
Photo: Pixabay

Positive Impacts of Mass Media in Developing Countries
Radio, newspapers, television, Internet, social media, etc., all of these are forms of mass media. Each of these outlets has the capability of bringing information to thousands of people with one device. While in some communities it is easy to take advantage of these communication outlets such as television and Internet access, not everyone has access to such outlets.

Radio is one of the most common forms of mass media in developing countries because it’s affordable and uses less electricity than many other forms of mass media, but only approximately 75 percent of people in developing countries have access to a radio, and roughly 77 percent of people in rural areas have access to electricity.

For developing countries that have implemented forms of mass media in their communities, there have been numerous positive outcomes.

Top 5 positive impacts of mass media in developing countries

  1. Brings people together- With implementing mass media in societies in Tunisia and Egypt, citizens were able to reach out to each other through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and create, organize and initiate street protests and campaigns. Furthermore, having access to social media in developing countries, people are able to connect to those that they usually wouldn’t have the chance to talk to.
  2. Provides educational opportunities- In many countries, the division between local and national languages as well as issues of literacy can make communication difficult. With the use of mass media, a bridge can be built between these two gaps. In India, there is a radio station that provides information in local languages and respects local culture and traditions.
  3. Watchdog for the public interest- Media is the watchdog for public interest in many ways. One of the main ways is to create public awareness of what is going on with businesses and government officials. The media plays an important role in giving people the opportunity to act against injustice, oppression and misdeeds that they otherwise wouldn’t know about.
  4. Information on available healthcare- In Burkina Faso, a mass radio broadcast was sent out encouraging parents to seek treatment at local healthcare facilities for their sick children. With this mass outreach on healthcare, the encouragement of people to take their children to healthcare facilities saved thousands of lives. This easy way of encouraging others and bringing awareness about certain diseases was made possible through a simple radio broadcast.
  5. Brings social issues to life- Similar to “watchdogging”, media brings many social issues to life that otherwise would remain unknown to many people. In developing countries and communities like Burkina Faso, when the radio broadcast was released about malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, people were educated and moved to action and knew to take their children to healthcare facilities for preventative care.

As it is seen, having access to different media outlets is vital for those in developing countries. Here are three ways that those in developing countries can implement mass media to help their people and communities.

  1. Provide radios or newspapers in public places- By providing radios and newspapers in public areas it gives community members to access news, information and emergency warnings. Even though radios can be on the cheaper side, there are still many people that can’t afford to have a radio in their home. By providing one in a local place, not only would it better educate the community members but also it will bring the community together.
  2. Have the community involved in sharing the news- When making individual communities responsible for providing their own news it not only makes them independent and proud of the work that they are putting out but it also has a positive effect on local economies. The media can provide many jobs that otherwise wouldn’t have been there.
  3. Make media outlets a two-way platform- Creating a two-way platform between the community and those who are behind the radio stations, newspapers or broadcasts makes the community feel involved and that their voices are being heard. An organization called Soul City in sub-Saharan Africa is showing how well two-way platforms work by engaging their listeners and having them contribute thoughts and ideas about complex issues.

Whether through radio or cell phones, forms of mass media are constantly being used to inform, educate and strengthen people all over the world whether they be in urban or rural communities.

One easy way to help gain access to mass media in developing countries is to reach out to government officials in the United States. Click here to email U.S. Senators about The Digital GAP Act and ask them to give first-time access to mobile or broadband Internet to 1.5 million people in developing countries by 2020.

– Victoria Fowler
Photo: Flickr