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Claquers: The Accidental Newsletter

06 Aug 2015
Posted by Shannon


Subscribe to Claquers here 

As has often been the case in my career I don’t find jobs so much as they find me. I was caught off guard a few months ago when I got an email from someone I didn’t know complaining about the newsletter being late.

What newsletter, I wondered vaguely, assuming it was some email gone astray. I sent her a quick response letting her know she contacted the wrong person.  

She promptly responded that she was looking for me, by name. And she wanted to know why the newsletter recommending good podcasts had stopped publishing. And frankly, she thought it was a touch unprofessional to just disappear without an announcement.

Oh. That newsletter. She was referring to what I long ago nicknamed The Virtual Newsroom. Her “newsletter” was actually a private email list of journalism shop-talk among my pals that had apparently been circulating well beyond my pals. 

Journalism is the business of gathering and circulating news, and after a couple of decades on the beat the habit becomes so strong that we just keep doing it, even after we’ve ceased to be on the beat. We swap articles, point out intriguing news stories, and gossip about the biz.  Many of my friends have been entertainment writers and critics, so we still send notes about things we’ve seen, read, or listened to.

I write about media, including podcasting, and I often include sidebars of podcast recommendations. As part of my research, I tap into friends’ iPods to make sure I’m offering readers something beyond my own quirky taste. As a thank you to everyone, I had fallen into the habit of circulating notes on new finds.   

Apparently those emails were being passed along, far beyond the friends-of-friends circle.

As I contemplated the implications of this – just how many insider backstories about newsrooms had I been sharing with strangers? -- I realized I was an accidental member of a group long-reviled by reporters. I had become a publisher. I had subscribers! And they were just as cranky and demanding as I remembered from my days as a reporter. 

I decided my cranky subscriber was onto something with this newsletter idea. But if I was going to be circulating news to strangers, professional pride demanded I buff up the presentation. So I apologized for not sending an announcement, and told her that Claquers – now it has a name! --  was going through a remake. It would return sometime soon and she could subscribe here.

And so can you. Claquers is scheduled to come out monthly, which will alert you to some podcasts to explore. I’m also a fan of good radio drama, which is hard to find, so I usually add one or two recommendations for that too. 

If you have any suggestions for podcasts you love, tweet me @shannonrupp or send an email,  (There’s a site in the works too, but it’s not quite finished.)

With almost 300,000 offerings on iTunes, I will need some help listening. And I’m particularly interested in finding those hidden gems among indie podcasts that haven’t found their way into a network yet. So please feel free to send recommendations my way, even if it’s only for your own podcast. (I know you’ve got one in the works. Podcasts: they’re the new novel-in-a-desk-drawer.) ~ END ~