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 Max Modell

Max Modell

Research student,


Maxwell Modell is a PhD student at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Culture studying the journalistic potential of news podcasts.

Maxwell’s research focuses on the interplay between journalism and politics, with a specific focus on the way news media is reimagining itself in response to digital technologies and narratives of declining trust in journalism.

As a member of the Podcast PhDs research network, Maxwell co-organised the Emerging Research in Podcast Studies 2022 International Virtual Symposium. An online conference bringing together scholars grappling with the very idea of podcasting and its implications for our culture and society.   

Maxwell works under the supervision of Dr Inaki Garcia-Blanco and Professor Stephen Cushion. He is funded by the ESRC on the Journalism and Democracy pathway


Research interests

Conference presentations

Broadcast Talk Seminar 2022 - "Redefining the political interview: Actively avoiding adversarialism and managing audience expectations on Political Thinking with Nick Robinson"

Emerging Research in Podcast Studies 2022 - "The Epistemologies of News Podcasts: The Constant Negotiation Between Truth Seeking and Storytelling"

Recordings available upon request.


Assessing the democratic potential of news podcasts in an age of journalistic shift

The rise of digital and ‘on-demand’ journalism has led to a shift in the political economy of the news media, creating economic challenges for legacy media and a search for alternative business models to fund sustainable ‘high quality’ journalism in the future. While traditional media is struggling, some new forms of journalism are growing in popularity, garnering both critical acclaim and the favour of certain audiences. One of these formats is the daily news podcast, which rose to prominence following the success of The Daily, a New York Times news podcast with a daily listenership of 4 million. When describing the podcast, host Michael Barbaro made the striking claim “this is what the news should sound like”, characterising the tenets of the show as: humanised, emotional storytelling; covering a story from the beginning, rather than just the immediate headline; and journalists saying what they know and admitting what they do not.

Since 2017, when The Daily launched, the number of news podcasts has tripled internationally. News podcasts have been developed by legacy and digital native media organisations and commonly follow the blueprint Barbaro and his team set out.

While news podcasts have established themselves as a significant form of news, they are yet to receive serious academic scrutiny.

This project will seek to address this research gap, investigating news podcasts as a journalistic innovation, drawing together concepts from news studies and the fledgeling field of podcast studies.

Research Questions

  • What are the professional structures and economic models of news podcasts?

  • How are truth claims articulated and justified in news podcasts?

  • How do news podcasts construct journalistic narratives?

  • Do news podcasts constitute a new journalistic genre?

Funding source



Inaki Garcia-Blanco

Dr Inaki Garcia-Blanco

Senior Lecturer (Teaching and Research)

Stephen Cushion

Professor Stephen Cushion

Director of Postgraduate Research

Areas of expertise