Nearly four years ago, the daily news podcast The Daily was one of the things that came out of the 2016 election at the New York Times. Now, as Americans are again voting, the 2020 campaign has brought the first opportunity for the series to cover a presidential race. The result is the audio series The Field, a special collection of episodes created by the audio team at the Times. Working with the paper’s political desk, the series has brought listeners a collection of stories about voters in the swing states. The Field has presented voters including ex-Democrats in Pennsylvania, Trump-supporting Latinos in Arizona, former felons in Florida, skeptical moderates in Minnesota, and disenchanted Republicans in the suburbs of Ohio.
“It’s our first show where, truly, the main characters in every episode are not reporters or writers or critics,” said Andy Mills, a senior audio producer for Times. Instead, he said the central figures are members of the American public “trying to determine the fate of the country that they live in.”
In addition to podcasts, the New York Times is also expanding its audio storytelling. Earlier this year the paper bought Audm, a company that produces read-aloud versions of long-form journalism, and it has since launched The Sunday Read as a collection of read aloud articles.
The expansion comes with more employees at the Times who are focused on audio content. In a memo to staff, the Times Audio managers shared a list of recent hires including:
Mike Benoist joins as Supervising Editor after five years as a story editor at the New York Times Magazine. Previously, he worked at National Geographic Adventure, GQ and Medium.
Liz O. Baylen joined as a Senior Editor after most recently being a part of the core team that created “The Weekly” television show. She has been at the paper since in 2017 as the Director of Enterprise Video.
Alix Spiegel also joined as a Senior Editor. She’s one of the founding producers of This American Life and went on to co-found the NPR show Invisibilia. Spiegel has also worked as a science reporter for NPR.
Kaitlin Roberts joined the audio team as a Senior Producer based in Berlin. Roberts earlier was Gimlet Media’s very first employee and worked on several Gimlet podcasts. After leaving Gimlet, she moved to Germany on a journalism Fulbright scholarship, and she now lives and works in Berlin.
Soraya Shockley has joined the Times as a Narrative Producer. Shockley most recently worked at Luminary, and just wrapped season three of Fiasco. Before that, she was an associate producer at Gimlet.
Des Ibekwe joined the paper during the summer as a news assistant in London. She previously worked at Broadcast magazine, where she reported on the British television industry.
Marion Lozano joins as an Audio Engineer. Lozano joined the Times from theSkimm, where she was most recently a senior audio engineer.
Diana Nguyen joins the Times as an Associate Producer for The Daily. Nguyen’s task is to turn the show from a podcast into a radio program — remixing the story to precisely 22 minutes, so it can be broadcast on more than 150 stations across the country. Nguyen joined The Times from Marfa Public Radio, where she served as interim news director and had previously hosted and executive produced “West Texas Talk,” the station’s flagship interview show.
John Woo joins as Senior Editor of Narrated Articles. Woo arrives from Pop-Up magazine, where he was a senior story producer. Before that, he was a senior editor at The Times on the video news team. He also helped launch, as the founding editor, the unit’s Times Documentaries series.
Parin Behrooz will join Woo on the narrated articles team as a production coordinator. She previously worked with Dexter Filkins as a freelance researcher at The New Yorker and assisted production at CNN.