Digital History Project Proposal: Podcast w/Lauren Pfeil

For our digital project, Lauren Pfeil and I will be starting a podcast that will have a tentative eight-episode season. Specifically, Lauren and I plan to record four episodes while only briefly storyboarding the other four. As for content, the actual focus of this podcast would be on histories that are often considered “obscure,” “marginal,” and “minority” related. Ultimately, the end goal of this podcast is to bring awareness and interest to histories that are not commonly featured in school curriculums.

Regarding the overall structure of the podcast, each episode will feature either Lauren or I teaching an “obscure” historical topic that we find interesting. So, for example, in the first episode, I would teach Lauren about the life of someone like General Tom Thumb (a nineteenth-century performer with dwarfism). Lauren would ask questions that progress the storytelling, effectively having the audience learn along with her. The second episode would then feature Lauren teaching me an “obscure” historical topic. In summary, our roles would basically reverse every episode.

We hope to gear this podcast mostly towards young adults. Particularly, those who want to see a greater variety in the historical actors most commonly talked about and taught. With this, we are not necessarily aiming to help young people study for exams— like Crash Course. Instead, our aim is to promote interest in historical topics— like Stuff you Missed in History Class and Drunk History. We want to challenge the age-old notion that history is boring!  

To promote this podcast, Lauren and I will be creating a podcast webpage that will effectively act as our home base. Here we will upload show notes, transcripts, further/recommended readings, source lists, etc. This will also be a great location for an embedded feedback tool. That is to say, audience members will be able to submit thoughts, critiques, and even recommendations for future topics through our website. We will also create accounts on a variety of social media platforms in order to engage with audience members. Additionally, we hope to partner with some historical institutions in order to get promoted on their social media pages (ex: @aupublichistory). We will also post episodes on platforms like Spotify and Apple podcasts in order to reach a wider audience. Other ways we would evaluate the project include looking at Spotify/Apple podcasts analytics as well as social media analytics in order to get insight into engagement numbers. Maybe we’ll even start our own Twitter hashtag— the opportunities are endless! (also title suggestions are greatly appreciated)

One Reply to “Digital History Project Proposal: Podcast w/Lauren Pfeil”

  1. Hi Sam,

    Developing a podcast as a course project is a great idea and it’s smart to think about working on it with a partner.

    The scope you have set out, recording four episodes, and storyboarding another four, seems like a good target for what you can accomplish in the semester. Your focus on “obscure” history sounds engaging. With that noting, it seems like it could be very broad. So you might want to think about if you are going to be up for covering any topic from any place in any period or if you should focus on obscure American History, or any other subject or time period.

    As you get into it, it will also likely be good to think about target length for episodes. To that end, you might want to look at some other podcasts that you think are reaching similar audiences and using that to inform some of your decisions about length of episodes.
    Making a website for your podcast is a great idea. I think everything you have laid out about the content there makes sense too. It’s also great that you are planning to get the episodes hosted/distributed on Spotify and Apple’s platforms. It’s also great that you are thinking through some of the things you can do for outreach around it.

    Overall this sounds like a fun and interesting project.

    Best, Trevor

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