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Tracking: July 21, 2020

Apple News Today. Caroline here again: Apple has announced some new audio features for the Apple News app and its subscription layer, Apple News+. These include a new daily “audio news briefing” called Apple News Today hosted by Apple News editors Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino, audio versions of featured stories in the app, and local news for the Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco (with coverage of other places being introduced down the line, we’re told).

Although this move has been written up in some places as Apple launching a competitor to the Daily — the New York Times pulled out of Apple News entirely last month and in March acquired Audm, a company that makes audio versions of written features — it’s probably best seen as an example of using audio to promote the use of existing Apple products. These features will be available in English on the Apple News app in the US, with listeners in places like the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and France able to receive Apple News Today via podcast feed.Gimlet Accessibility Lawsuit. Gimlet Media is the subject of a recent class-action lawsuit for failing to make its podcasts accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Plaintiff Kahlimah Jones argues in the complaint, filed in New York, that Gimlet’s output violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because their shows don’t have closed captioning. Jones, for reference, has brought similar cases in the past against companies like Skillshare and Peloton.

Closed captions, or subtitles, are not the same as transcripts — the principle difference being that captions are timed to appear as content plays, rather than being a separate entity that can be read alone. Although plenty of podcast publishers (including Gimlet) have made welcome progress in recent times towards providing more transcripts for their episodes, I’m not aware of any podcast apps that yet support closed captions for podcasts in the way that, say, YouTube does for video.Show notes.

  • Spectacular Failures from American Public Media and Lauren Ober returns for season 2 on August 3.
  • Get WIRED, a new weekly show from WIRED magazine, dropped its first episode this week.
  • ZigZag, the “business podcast about being human” from Manoush Zomorodi, has returned for a fifth season and is now part of the TED stable. Zomorodi, of course, is the host of TED Radio Hour and recently dissolved the partnership with producer Jen Poyant that had been responsible for the first four seasons of the show.
  • iHeartMedia has done a nine-show deal with Tenderfoot TV. The first release under this partnership is season two of Sworn, which begins with a two-parter about racial bias in the US justice system.
  • In Vulture, Nick has an interview up of Ty Harper, the host of the CBC’s This is Not a Drake Podcast.