This week Telum talks to Malika, Host and Producer of ‘’Disclose’’, produced by KBR Prime. Disclose is an investigative podcast on child marriage.
Can you share a glimpse of how your day as a Host and Producer at KBR Prime looks like?
I supervise all podcasts, manage producers, and other teams helping us produce the podcasts. Other than reading and writing podcast scripts, I also plan reporting trips and deal with post-production work.
When it comes to Disclose, the episodes are narrative storytelling, there is a reporter presenting the story first, then we chat with our sources. We would like to present to our listeners, a new listening experience.
Reporting an investigative piece in an article is common. How do you do it in an audio format?
Listening is not like reading. Our listeners might get bored and distracted, and they can’t go back to the previous paragraph. This is a challenge for us when we write the script. There would always be parts of it that we change during table-read. At the same time, listening to news requires entertainment and storytelling aspects.
It is hard to include hard facts in the podcast, so we include them through storytelling. The most important part is choosing a strong character to help us tell the facts we found.
The storytelling aspect is also challenging because the audience in Indonesia is still very new to podcasts. They think that podcast is an entertaining light chat or an opportunity to discuss something controversial.
Other than planning what to cover, we also have to think about the audio library. Every time we walk or use the train, we would record it. The whole process took about five months.
What are some of the strengths when presenting an investigative podcast?
The strength is definitely the storytelling. We take our audience through a story and if it’s successful, they can be emotionally involved too. Other than our voices, the journalists and sources also capture our emotions. We want our audience to know the problems behind child marriage, and they also get new knowledge from the story that leaves lasting memories.
Why child marriage though?
Child marriage is not something new, it is always happening around us. During COVID, the number skyrocketed, and people don’t see this as a major problem. There are many inappropriate and mocking comments, and media outlets cover it in a sensational way. Children are not portrayed with emphatic views. Their voices are not being heard, we don’t know their back story and the regulatory gaps that enable the practice.
Do you have any tips for students or news outlets when it comes to producing investigative podcasts?
Find a story, strong characters, which facts we need to raise, and remember we are not writing an article. Listen to a lot of podcasts produced by foreign media outlets, to help us package the final product.
Understand when you first meet your sources, you may not get something useful because you need to focus on bonding with them. There would be many changes during table-read, including the storyline and new interviews. Finally, explicitly say this is an investigative piece so you can get their consent.