My STC Intercom article: "Top 5 Podcasts for Technical Communicators"
My article, "Top 5 Podcasts for Technical Communicators," appeared in STC's Intercom today. It's in the Cut & Paste section here (stc login required). I didn't have a lot of space to expand, so I thought I'd take the liberty here.
First, settling on just 5 podcasts was agonizing and I thought about it for weeks, constantly drawing up lists and ranking them. I actually submitted 10 podcast recommendations, hoping they would say okay we'll publish 10, but they whacked it down to just 5.
My Top 5 Recommendations
My top five recommendations are iinnovate, IT Conversations, Edgework, STC Atlanta, and WordPress. There aren't many podcasts out there specifically about technical communication. But there are a lot of podcasts that might appeal to technical writers, even if the topics don't address technical communication. I tried to choose the podcasts that I regularly listen to and enjoy, rather than just 5 podcasts that might fit categorically into tech comm.
Podcasts I Also Wanted to Recommend
Here are 10 more podcasts I wished I could have included in my recommendations.
DMN Communications: I love this podcast, and it truly is the only one besides Tech Writer Voices that focuses specifically on technical communication. But as I was creating my list, they hadn't published a podcast for several months. I wasn't sure if they would return.
This American Life: A radio show (distributed also as a podcast) that is professionally produced and usually very entertaining. But it's long, usually at least an hour. I love the little music clips they splice in to add tension and development to the stories. The topics are general interest.
Slate: Short and witty, sometimes political, this podcast is good one to include in your reader and monitor for topics of interest.
Design Critique Podcast: A podcast about usability and design, which can be relevant to technical communicators. However, it can be a little long sometimes. I've only been a listener for a couple of months. If you're into usability, also check out the UX podcast.
The MalContents: A podcast focusing more on the content management side of communication. The information is high quality, but they only publish about one episode a month.
Manager Tools: A great podcast if you're a manager, or if you simply manage teams or work packages.
SXSW Podcasts: Recordings from the South by SouthWest conference in Austin last year. Authoritative speakers and tech-focused topics.
Podcast Academy: A great resource for podcasters. Often the episodes are conference session recordings.
Slashdot Review: Delivers timely and interesting interesting technology news. It's short, published several times a week, and right to the point.
Harvard Business Review IdeaCast: A podcast about business ideas. Sometimes this podcast can be engaging, other times lackluster.
Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech (TWIT): An informative technology podcast run by Leo Laporte, who gathers several people each episode to discuss and analyze the latest in tech news.
Overall, I recommend adding as many podcast feeds to your reader as possible, and then just scroll down the list for topics of interest to you. Also, don't forget to add my podcast, Tech Writer Voices, to the mix.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.