Fifteen years after the term was first coined, podcasting has since emerged as a worldwide phenomenon. As millions of listeners tune in every day to catch the latest news from around the world, the staff of The Global Current tuck themselves away in a cozy WSOU recording studio with a soundboard and a spider-like microphone to deliver the top international news stories right to listener’s ears with a diplomatic twist.
“The Global Current’s mission is to report and analyze international news through the art of radio production,” executive producer and Diplomacy sophomore Isabella ‘Bella’ Fisher tells the Envoy. “We provide a professional training platform to any Seton Hall University students who want to learn or gain experience in broadcasting.”
Sponsored by the School of Diplomacy & International Relations, The Global Current also airs on 89.5 FM WSOU radio station at 7:30 am on Sunday mornings. However, its primary listening platform is Apple Podcasts, and Bella hopes to expand to Spotify within the next year.
“Podcasting is different from writing,” she explains. “Instead of someone having to go out of the way and take time to read, they can hop on the train and listen during their daily commute.”
When asked why The Global Current is so important, Bella noted that participating in a radio show provides Diplomacy students with an outlet for putting ideas taught in the classroom into practice.
“I think that in classrooms we are provided with our professor’s views, but everyone has their own opinion. The Global Current gives students the opportunity to voice those opinions and be heard.”
That is not to say that podcasts only works with Diplomacy students. The Global Current pulls expertise from a wide range of majors across Seton Hall and encourages everyone to try their hand at radio. Bella says that broadcasting develops multiple skills useful across the modern workforce, including communication, teamwork, and time management.
“We do operate under tighter deadlines, which does hinder students with busier schedules from participation,” the producer admits. “To combat this, we are transitioning from a one-week turn around to a two-week turnaround, where students can sign up and research show topics for a week before they book time in the recording studio.”
As a program, The Global Current seeks to answer the question “Is Diplomacy the Answer?” Facilitated by a host, the podcast regularly features a roundtable discussion where students debate diplomatic solutions to trending topics in international affairs. In recent months, the Current aired roundtables addressing the Uighur prison camps in Xinjiang, the 2019 UN Climate Change Summit, and the Mexican War on Drugs.
“We touch on international politics a fair amount,” Bella says, “but we have aired some pretty unique stories too. One of my favorites was an article about the NBA and the huge following that American basketball has in China. You really do not hear about sports diplomacy in the classroom, so it was fun to bring our listeners something a little out-of-the-ordinary.”
In addition to roundtables, The Global Current also hosts interviews with experts from across the international relations field.
“We recently had one of our writers run a segment with a journalist from the Wall Street Journal. Last semester our producer talked to an Algerian Fulbright Scholar, who used to work for Al Jazeera,” Bella said, outlining the opportunities for networking afforded to students involved with the Current. “We are also about to air an interview with a Coast Guard admiral who has a background in counterintelligence. If you cannot tell, we have been very busy!”
When asked about some hurdles The Global Current must outcome as a student-run organization, Bella was honest.
“Currently, we have been facing a couple of challenges regarding student involvement and staffing in general. Over the winter break, we lost our Associate Producer, so we’re a little understaffed.”
The Current also reports experiencing a huge lull in freshman involvement that “we frankly did not anticipate,” Bella admits. “In the past, we have had greater freshman participation, so we are trying to recover from losing that this past semester.”
Despite these recent challenges, however, The Global Current’s staff are more optimistic than ever as they move into the new semester; they recently announced a partnership with The Diplomatic Envoy. With the consent of staff writers, articles submitted to the Envoy will be automatically considered for airing on the podcast, which Bella hopes will increase interest in both organizations. The two news organs will also host joint meetings starting in February to encourage writer participation.