Slate Political Gabfest

The Slate Political Gabfest is put on by Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz. In this week’s gabfest, they discuss American intervention in Libya, the Supreme Court’s look at women workers at Wal-Mart, and academic intimidation in the Midwest.

During their conversations they have a few common techniques that they use. In my opinion, as I analyzed the program, I thought it was kind of like a “discussion meet”. A discussion meet is this contest that we have in Farm Bureau where we discuss current topics in agriculture. It is along the lines of a debate, but instead of competing against each other, contestants work together to come to a conclusion and create potential solutions to these issues.

In the case of the Gabfest, they aren’t competing, but they discuss collaboratively by asking questions, bringing others into the conversation by asking questions, and facilitate the discussion to keep things on track; all of which are key components of discussion meets.

They also use techniques like bringing up past gabfests as examples, split up the talk time by giving each person their own  topic, and work to clear up confusion on issues so people will be more inclined to want to listen.

This podcast is an effective means of distribution for their material for a couple of reasons. It allows people to listen to this discussion in multiple areas such as on a laptop, iPod, or even their smart phone and it helps make it mobile. Being mobile helps create more convenience for the listeners and they can access the show no matter what time it is, unlike traditional radio or TV where they are live or a set-time program. One other thing that sets this apart from mainstream radio is that, as I mentioned before, it is available on iTunes and mobile applications which is a new trend in podcasts and digital programs.

This means of communication is also effective because listeners get access to the simplified and condense version of these topics, which can sometimes be confusing. People will be more inclined to listen and want to learn about these topics if they can be broken down for them.

The pace and energy of the Gabfest crew varies depending on what topic they are talking about. Each person kind of has their own personality and “character” on the show essentially. Emily is the bubbly, yet intelligent one; David is the more serious one; and John is the more sarcastic one.

Their pace is pretty standard and slow enough to follow, yet it fluctuates if the discussion becomes more intense or if someone gets more excited over a statement. Overall, their tone is serious with hints of humor. Their humor is evident in the beginning and end of their program. They kind of use that as an attention getter, and then transition into the serious tone when they get into the “meat” of their discussion.

Overall, I personally like this method of communication. Their Gabfest was pretty interesting, but sometimes I couldn’t always follow what they were talking about. I got lost in the transition into the third topic, from my aspect it wasn’t a clear transition from the first ones. It also seems like they are talking in circles sometimes. I realized that if you aren’t intently listening throughout the whole thing, you can easily get lost. But despite these things, I really did like their program as a whole. I would definitely listen to it if they were going to be talking about something I was interested in learning more about.


Posted on April 12, 2011, in Purdue, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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