Why See Through News is now telling you bedtime stories that stretch your credulity and speed up carbon drawdown
We turn out to quite like the intimacy of strangers whispering in our ears as we walk the dog, do the washing up, lie in the bath, or prepare for sleep.
How can See Through News ignore the podcast, having set ourselves the Goal of converting as many people as possible from Ineffective Activism and Unwilling Inactivism, to Effective Climate Activism?
The seed was planted by some feedback via our Newsletter survey. One subscriber told us he was ear-time rich, listening to podcasts on his long daily commute, but eye-time poor, his routine leaving few opportunities for reading.
Your merest whim being our command, See Through News started looking into podcasts, and we liked what we found.
Our pilot series is a 10-part series called The Story of Ganbaatar: Mongolia’s only deep-sea navigator.
Three other multi-episode series are already written, on totally different topics, with more in the pipeline.
Our volunteer team is working on establishing the sound design, and before launching on podcast platforms, we seek – and welcome – your feedback on this prototype.
Though still young, the podcast market is approaching maturity and stability.
- Everyone’s at it – numbers of podcasts have exploded
- People know what they like – Top Ten podcast lists are starting to ossify
- Big Dogs dominate – despite increased supply, the top few podcasts are taking increasingly market share
- Genres are established – creators and punters are pigeonholing podcasts into established categories: true crime, comedy, interview, game show, monologue, theatrical, repurposed etc.
In other words, the market looks ripe for some innovation.
Critics, platforms and punters are looking for the Next Big Thing, something that if it doesn’t break the mould, creates a distinctive new one.
In this sense, our timing is excellent. See Through News has a huge competitive advantage by virtue of coming to the podcast format fresh, and of not having the first clue how to make one.
What’s New and Distinctive About Our Podcasts?
Here are some of the unique combination of features our podcasts hope to offer this jaded market.
Fact v Fiction:
Our stories are all fictionalised versions of true stories.
We constantly draw attention to this delicate balance. Our narratives constantly teeter on the knife edge separating Truth and Lies. This teasing tension forms part of the storytelling framing.
The diversity and obscurity of the content (see below) may suggest a scattergun approach, but this critical core editorial point is what identifies our podcasts as See Through News products.
Separating objective, scientific fact from speculative, aspirational fantasy, is a key part of any Climate Change narrative, and is central to our approach to See Through News’s Goals of promoting effective climate activism.
If you Google ‘bedtime story podcasts’, you’ll find there’s a sort-of established genre of bedtime stories which come from a wellness/wellbeing perspective of aiding good sleep.
But anyone who’s actually read, or been read, a bedtime story knows that’s not the point of a good bedtime story at all.
Quite the opposite.
What we want is an absorbing, cracking yarn. We want a story that keeps us awake. Even as our eyelids droop, we want stories that leave us begging for one more chapter before lights out, PLEEAAASE!.
If we lose our fight against sleep, we want stories that we’ll insist on repeating the last chapter the following night, to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
If we’re still awake at the end of one chapter, we want to hear the next one, and the next, until we can no longer keep our eyes open.
While these podcasts could, of course, be listened to at any time of day, the concept of a bedtime story provides a strong conceptual basis for branding and formatting.
We’re planning on release our stories in two formats:
- 7-15 part episodes of around 5-10min each
- Omnibus editions of 30-60 minutes per entire story
This gives the option of:
a) literally listening to an episode a night, the last thing you do, as you lie in bed with the lights off.
b) If you’re still awake at the end of one, you can keep going to the next one, until you succumb to Morpheus’s sweet embrace…
c) Listening to the whole story on a dog walk, car trip, commute, bath time, bus ride, or wherever you’d usually listen to such content.
See Through News founder SternWriter (Robert Stern) has written and narrated the pilot stories, but this is a very expandable concept for other contributors.
The flexible, but distinctive format, means we can hear many different voices telling their own tall tales.
We absolutely encourage this – if anyone reading this fancies having a go, get in touch!
What makes a good See Through News Podcast Story?
Diversity, surreality and unpredictability are the key elements to keep the listener on their toes, challenging them whether or not to believe what they’re being told.
However fantastic or improbable, all of our stories must keep at least one toe in contact with the bottom of reality, just short of swimming free into complete fantasy.
Ours, then, are not Tall Tales.
They are Tales of Varying But Measurable Height.
Our Slate of Stories
Here are the three series out so far:
- Series 1: The Story of Ganbaatar – the only qualified deep-sea navigator in Mongolia
- Series 2: Betrayed – A Tale of Christmas Spiritual Pollution
- Series 3: Life on the Edge – Taiwan, China, America and the Moment I Realised Mrs. Wang Was Mostly Guessing What Her Husband Said
Here’s our upcoming slate:
- Series 4: The Quiet Revolutionary – the heroic role played in a plot to assassinate the King by someone you’ve all heard of
- Series 5: Teetering – how a Hawaiian beach bum held my career in the balance
- Series 6: Marcus & Jemima – how I deal with people at parties who assume I have children
- Series 7: A Slow Reveal – how it took me 20 years to realise one of my three Japanese friends was a yakuza
The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories, from See Through News, can be found on many places, including:
On this website (see links above)