In the age of the podcast, there are often too many podcasts to choose from available to students. With a large number of political podcasts available to young people, The College Tribune looks at some of the best student run political podcasts out there.
Young People in Politics
For many young people, knowing where political parties stand on issues and how they operate is often a mystery. Irish politics is somewhat unique for its crowded left and ideologically similar traditional parties in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that have traded power for almost a century. There is no better way to find out the ins and outs of Irish parties and where they are on the political spectrum than from the members themselves. The title ‘Young People in Politics’ really speaks for itself.
Run by Odhrán Johnson, a history and law student in Dublin City University (DCU), the podcast has hosted young members of all major political parties, north and south. On future plans for the podcast, Odhrán said he wants to interview some politically active young people operating outside the party system and said he wants to ‘to incorporate more discussion-based content amongst youth political parties to provide a platform for the ideas of young people to be heard.’
Given the wide range of parties represented on the show so far, the podcast gives a great insight into what motivates young people towards their respective parties. The podcast is so much more than an explainer but touches on the individual member’s path into politics and it is a great way to learn about the parties that shape our society.
A Loada Bollocks
Within five seconds of episode one, the host Tara admits ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing,’ and adds ‘I’ve started this podcast mostly to amuse myself.’ It is this honesty and brashness which makes the ‘A Loada Bollocks’ podcast such an enjoyable one to listen to. The podcast aims to discuss some of the weeks more significant news stories and does so in a digestible and light-hearted fashion. Trump supporters storming the US capitol building and the governments handling of the mother and baby home report are some of the topics that have been touched on so far, with all issues wrapped up into neat, short episodes. The podcast is only just up and running and is hosted by final year UCD business and law student Tara Hanlon. She hopes to get some guests on the show soon including students to discuss ‘areas of expertise to them.’ While providing a concise account of topical issues, Tara mixes in some effortless humour into the show making it one I would highly recommend.
The podcast ‘Frontier Investigates’ is part of Frontier Current Affairs, a student current affairs media platform founded last year by second-year UCD politics and international relations with sociology student Drummond McGinn. Frontier current affairs aims to be a reliable and neutral new source and the podcast is very much in that vein. Drummond told us the podcast will ‘ask the tough questions, discuss the hottest stories and interview the biggest names.’ The podcast touches on a broad range of topics, both domestic and international, such as the division in the Young Greens over the party’s position in the current government and the current unrest in Myanmar. Each episode focuses on one particular issue and examines it deeply, often with experts in the area. For those who want to go past the headlines and get a complete, detailed picture of important topics, this is the podcast for you.
The Youth Voice podcast is run by Armagh native Dermot Hamill and is already jam-packed with excellent episodes since it launched in December of last year. Predominantly interviews with key political figures the podcast already features an impressive line-up of guests from both sides of the border and beyond. Such figures include Matt Carthy the Cavan-Monaghan TD for Sinn Féin, the SDLP leader and MP Colm Eastwood and also UK Labour MP Louise Haigh who is shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland. The podcast also played host to a round table debate with young people representing the major parties on the island of Ireland which touched on topics such as a border poll, lowering the voting age and the legalisation of cannabis. The high-profile guests that feature on the podcast and its focus on politics both north and south makes it a really good one to listen to.
The Political inCorrectors podcast is in its early days but promises to be a smash hit. The format of two co-hosts is a unique selling point. Sometimes co-hosted podcasts can lack definition, but not this one. The two hosts Luke and Eric clearly have a good connection which gives the show a great flow. It is not surprising to learn that Luke and Eric have known each other a long time, both growing up in Longford. Now in college with Luke in DCU and Eric in NUIG the podcast is currently in the process of going remotely. Both lads have both served on the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union National Student Executive. Their focus on young people is evident on the podcast and Luke said that the podcast was started to ‘make political discussion more accessible and easier to understand for young people,’ adding that ‘political coverage in Ireland is very traditional and stale and there’s a need for a more unique way to learn about what’s happening politically.’
Many podcasts aim to make politics and current affairs more accessible and easier to understand. Doing so is no easy task but the Pretty Politics podcast does so very effectively, largely by keeping things nice and simple. Each episode focuses on one particular topic and breaks it down for anyone to understand. Episodes are nice and short, so they are perfect for a quick listen. So far topics that have been explained are the mother and baby homes report, Trump’s final hours in office and the coup in Myanmar. Speaking with the podcast host, third-year politics and sociology student here in UCD Steph Kerr, she told us that ‘people who want to be more engaged in current affairs don’t know where to start or how to find information that’s easy to understand.’ She added that while the show is accessible ‘the content easy to understand without leaving out the important parts.’
Conor Paterson – Features Editor