And then suddenly you're a podcast host
As of May 11, the science faculty has its own podcast: Wetenschap op je Gemak (Dutch). We spoke to student Jordy Janssen, one of the show's hosts. How did he get involved in this project?
Every two weeks, the podcast offers a look at a scientific study being conducted at Leiden University. From artificial intelligence to extraterrestrial life, everything is covered. And the hosts, Jordy Janssen and Inge van Dijck, guide the listener through each topic with ease. Because each episode consists of an interview and a visit to the lab, the listener gets a taste of both theory and practice.
Jordy, how did you get involved with this podcast?
It happened accidentally, about a year ago. The faculty had the idea to make a podcast, although there were no concrete plans yet. Since I am active in science communication on behalf of Leiden Science Magazine anyway, they asked if I wanted to participate. At that time, I was doing the Master's in Biology & Science Communication: I knew I wanted to continue in science communication, but not exactly in what form. I hadn't considered a podcast before. After a few seconds, I decided: why not?
That's very spontaneous, did it turn out as you hoped?
Certainly, I really believe that you should seize these kinds of experiences. If something suddenly comes your way, it's an opportunity to learn something new. I had no idea what I was getting into either, but it turned out to be a great experience. And I learned a lot from it.
What kind of new things did you learn?
Well, for example how much work it is to make a podcast. Especially editing should not be underestimated: our editor Didi Spaans cuts a recording of an hour and a half into an episode of 25 minutes. But I also learned a lot from the recordings, like how to get the best sound quality or how to ask good questions to keep a conversation going.
Were there any things in there that you had to get used to?
Absolutely, especially the beginning took getting used to. I had experience with writing, but not with podcasts. This is much harder to edit: everything you say becomes part of the product. During a recording, you can't just start talking, you have to think about what you're going to say first. And even when you're talking, you scrutinize yourself completely: language, intonation and articulation, it all affects the quality of the recording. Also, during an interview you have to constantly think about whether the listeners can follow the story, or whether you might need to ask for clarification. After a while it comes naturally, but in the beginning it really feels like you're doing a hundred things at once.
That sounds like a baptism of fire, but was it fun?
The whole process was incredibly fun; I would do it again in a heartbeat. It's especially nice to be able to talk about science with experts, to ask them all my burning questions and learn more. And of course it's very surreal to suddenly see your own name on Spotify.
The podcast Wetenschap op je Gemak can be listened to on Spotify (Dutch!), where a new episode is released every other week. The third episode was released today, so listen to it soon!