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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New data and investments into news podcasting suggests that the format is not just a fad, but a trend that's here to stay.

Why it matters: Newsrooms are finding that podcasts are helping them develop stronger audiences and, in some cases, make more money. At a time when the news economy is unstable, podcasts offer newsrooms a chance to drive new business.

Driving the news: The Pulitzer Prize Board said Thursday that they would include audio reporting as a new journalism prize category in its 2020 cycle.

  • "The renaissance of audio journalism in recent years has given rise to an extraordinary array of non-fiction storytelling," Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy said in a statement.

The state of play: The announcement comes on the heels of new research released by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Oxford University that finds news podcasts have exploded in popularity in the U.S.

  • According to the report, the number of new news podcasts around the world increased by one-third (32%) from January through October 2019, citing data from Chartable.
  • That means that more than 12,000 new news podcasts have been created this year.

The podcast streamers are also finding that news performs well on their platforms.

  • While news podcasts make up a small portion (6%) of the 770,000 existing podcasts on Apple's platform, they make up around one-fifth (21%) of the most popular episodes in Apple's U.S. charts, per the report. The trend extends to other countries across the world.
  • Spotify said Friday that it now has 500,000 podcast titles available through its app, and that news is one of the most consumed podcast genres of the year, per The Drum.
Expand chart
Data: PwC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Yes, but: While podcasts offer some newsrooms the opportunity to make millions of dollars in ad revenue, they are still a small portion of overall revenue across the board.

  • While some newsrooms, like the New York Times, have had unprecedented success building podcasts, others have had less luck with their audio strategies.
  • And some radio broadcasters were frustrated that the Pulitzer announcement was associated with the podcast boom, as radio journalists have long-produced award-worthy stories, Nieman Lab notes.

The bottom line: Signs point to podcasting becoming a bigger part of the news industry in the foreseeable future, but don't expect all newsrooms to benefit equally.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.

Democrat Mark Kelly sworn in to U.S. Senate

Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Astronaut Mark Kelly (D) was sworn in to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday after defeating incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) last month for the seat once held by the late Sen. John McCain.

Why it matters: Kelly's swearing-in by Vice President Mike Pence narrows the Republican majority and moves the Senate balance to 52-48.

Senate Armed Services chair dismisses Trump threat to veto defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday that he plans to move ahead with a crucial defense-spending bill without provisions that would eliminate tech industry protections, defying a veto threat from President Trump.

Why it matters: Inhofe's public rebuke signals that the Senate could have enough Republican backing to override a potential veto from Trump, who has demanded that the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.