Podcasts of the week: war reporters, hard news and great interviews

“I’m going to die now, and I wonder if it’s going to hurt.” That’s the thought that crossed Stuart Ramsay’s head in early March, when the Sky News correspondent came under heavy fire from Russian forces in Ukraine. He didn’t die, but was shot in the back, and he recounts that experience – which took place when the car he was traveling in was ambushed at a checkpoint – in a gripping episode of The line of firesaid Fiona Sturges in the FinancialTimes.

A new podcast about the lives of war reporters, it’s hosted by British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai, whose “own experience in the field allows her to ask direct questions without sounding macabre”. It’s not just about getting a close shave with death, though. It’s also “about how war reporters cope working in such dangerous conditions, what they’ve learned about humanity in the face of amazing cruelty, and why they do what they do” .

Another of Navai’s guests is CNN’s Clarissa Ward, who speaks with illuminating candor about the complicated mixed emotions she has about “leaving conflict zones and returning to a comfortable life at home.”

Even those of us not in war zones may feel overwhelmed by the “relentless” cycle of “destruction and killing” that dominates the news, Miranda Sawyer said in The Observer. “For some, the answer is to disconnect; for others, it is comforting to try to understand. A good starting point is The Ezra Klein Show.

This bi-weekly podcast by an American political journalist has been on the air since 2015 and was picked up under the New York Times umbrella last year. Lately, the show has focused on Ukraine and the geopolitical fallout. But it covers a wide range of issues, from the climate crisis to cryptocurrencies.

With its new weekly show Tortoise Media The backstoryAndrew Neil becomes latest ‘legacy media silverback’ to try podcasting, James Marriott says in The temperature. This doesn’t always go over very well for those who switch to more informal media. In his The lock podcast, Jeremy Paxman found a “slightly awkward place between chatter and confrontation,” even with people like the IQ the elf Andrew Hunter Murray, who “didn’t need to be held accountable urgently for anything”.

By contrast, Neil – in a series billed as conversations with “those in power and those who try to influence them” – makes “no concessions” to the looser format. In interviewing General David Petraeus, former director of the CIA and commander of the American army in Iraq, Neil remains in “big media beast mode: tenacious, abrupt and of an intimidating briefing”. The result is a podcast that “is unlike anything else.” An old-school adult conversation about geopolitics, Ukraine, and the changing nature of war. It could work its way.

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