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Michael Barbaro explains why you love the New York Times’ podcast, ‘The Daily’

“We start a story at the beginning and we get you through to the end.”

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The Daily host Michael Barbaro
“The Daily” host Michael Barbaro
Adam Tow for Recode

For many decades, people read the New York Times because they wanted an authoritative, definitive take of the news that was “fit to print.” But what people want is changing, so the NYT is changing too, as reflected in its hit podcast “The Daily.”

“Your relationship with the New York Times was, for the most part, predicated on tablets being handed down to you every morning,” said the host of “The Daily,” Michael Barbaro, on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. “All of our relationships with journalism are changing. The idea of omniscience itself is kind of held in doubt, and it may not have ever really existed, it was more of a conceit.”

As listeners of the eight-month-old show know well, “The Daily” encourages New York Times journalists to talk like actual human beings, who sometimes don’t have answers for every question they’re asked.

“Oftentimes, they have figured something out,” Barbaro said. “But sometimes they’re in the middle of figuring it out ... Journalists can say what they know and say what they don’t know, and talk very openly about their process. It creates a lot of transparency that people really crave right now.”

You can listen to the new podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, which was recorded in front of a live audience in New York City, Barbaro also talked about the other reasons his show has grown so quickly, reaching 100 million total downloads earlier this month. Specifically, he addressed why it has succeeded where the New York Times’ long-running video efforts have struggled to find a foothold.

“Audio on-demand, on your phone, means that you can load it at home, get on the subway, listen to it in your car on a long drive,” he said. “Wherever you are, it’s with you, and it’s intimate and it’s small and your eyes can be doing what they do throughout the day. You don’t need to be stationary in front of a television, or in front of a screen.”

Plus: “The Daily” does something for its audience that makes it obviously different from a typical piece of journalism.

“The most important thing is we start a story at the beginning and we get you through to the end,” Barbaro said. “So much journalism is about kind of an incremental understanding of what changed between yesterday and today.”

“‘What is Boko Haram?’” he added. “‘Why do we pay income taxes?’ Some of the most basic questions we ask at ‘The Daily’ — and we’re giddy about it because we’re liberated to ask those questions — are why I think listeners really care about the show.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcastor wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts— and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

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