Please join me in welcoming Emma-Louise Boynton of non-partisan media podcast resource platform The Venn for a Cake panel.
A bit about Emma-Louise's background: Emma-Louise was born in New York, grew up in London and now works between the two cities. She started her career in broadcast journalism at the BBC, freelancing across a range of political programs on Radio 4, and also at Sky News. Working on TV and radio coverage of the Scottish referendum, then Brexit and then the 2016 U.S. election, it was a particularly interesting period to start carving out a career in news and she fast developed a penchant for the adrenaline of the news room and live broadcast.
It was while she was working on Sky News’ U.S. election coverage that she met Tina Brown, who had appeared as guest on the channel’s election night programming. After a quick-fire conversation in an elevator as she escorted Ms Brown to her car, Emma-Louise gauged that the live journalism event Ms Brown had set up in 2009, The Women in the World Summit, were looking for producers for the next event she sent her resume to the team the following day. Fast forward two months and Emma-Louise had moved back to her birthplace, New York, and was working as a producer for Tina Brown Media and the eighth Women in the World summit. She had begun to feel somewhat disillusioned by the content churn of the 24 news cycle and was glad to be moving to the longer-form, highly produced journalism of the summit and was particularly drawn to the bi-partisan approach it took to covering key political issues.
Emma-Louise worked on the next three summits, moving back and fourth between New York and London, where she continued to work on the news desk at Sky News. Working in the news sphere at a time of such heightened polarization in both countries, following the 2016 Trump election and Brexit vote, she felt increasingly aware of how important genuinely non-partisan news sources were becoming, and also how rare. She also felt a growing sense of frustration at the sensationalism of so much online and tv news, and found herself increasingly drawn to podcasts for longer form and more analytical discussions. She began thinking about starting her own podcast and what that might look like. It was at this point that she was introduced to her now co-founder, Jim Cowles, as he was planning his exit from Citi Bank, where he was the CEO of EMEA. He wanted to set up a non-partisan political issues platform and was similarly interested in podcasting as the best medium for doing this. Their interests were perfectly aligned and they started working together in the fall of 2018.
After months of research and user testing they launched The Venn, a non-partisan media platform aiming to help people better understand the key political issues surrounding the 2020 U.S. election, through podcasts. Each week they publish a newsletter recommending a selection of handpicked podcast episodes that cover three topic areas: firstly, several episodes that shed light on the week’s main news stories; secondly, a ‘deep dive’ section that focuses on a key issue such as immigration, healthcare or climate change, and recommends three podcasts from the archives that delve into that week’s chosen topic; and a 2020 section that selects a single podcast episode focused on the forthcoming election and who’s running.