Ever since tech journalist Kara Swisher announced in April that she was moving to the New York Times, it has been expected she would helm a new podcast for the newspaper company’s growing audio portfolio. Swisher left the influential Silicon Valley-focused Recode Decode podcast in July, and later this month she heads to the Times’ studios to host Sway. The paper says she will take on the powerful in Washington, Hollywood and the world.
“I wanted to bring my interview podcast to The Times because in this twitchy and tense world, it is time for really substantive discussions about our future and about how to hold the powerful to account and shed light on those voices who are powerful in fresh and new ways,” said Swisher.
Sway will be published twice a week beginning the week of Sept. 21. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday. On the show Swisher will interview someone in power, for what the Times says will be “smart, substantive, in-depth, and revealing” conversations.
“Times audiences are expecting us to meet them where they are, and one way we can connect with them is via their earbuds,” said Paula Szuchman, managing producer, The New York Times Opinion Audio. “The Opinion section is building on that promise with more audio-first journalism and I’m incredibly excited to be leading that effort. Kara was the perfect choice to anchor our newest show.
Salesforce is the official launch sponsor of Sway.
Swisher surprised many when in April she said she was leaving Recode Decode to join the New York Times. During her five years as the host of Recode Decode, produced by the tech website Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network, Swisher earned her the title as “Silicon Valley’s most-feared journalist” by New York Magazine.
Swisher also hosts the Pivot podcast with New York University Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway. It is part of New York magazine’s podcast lineup. Swisher is an editor-at-large at the magazine. Launched in 2018, Pivot also focuses on tech, business and politics. It will continue to publish Tuesdays and Fridays.
Vox Media said with the departure of Swisher, Recode Decode is being recast in a partnership between Vox Media and The Verge. The new show is called Decoder and it will be hosted by Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patell. Like its predecessor, Decoder will feature interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, and policy makers to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing modern tech landscape.
Swisher came to fame as one of the early beat reporters covering the nascent internet industry with the Wall Street Journal. She also was a co-producer and co-host of The Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference series with Walt Mossberg starting in 2003. After that came to an end, she has hosted the Code Conference, something that will remain unchanged under the new podcast deals.
The New York Times also said at its IAB Podcast Upfront presentation on Thursday that The Daily now averages four million downloads each day. That is double what it had a year ago. “The Daily is now becoming a very major news platform in ways we had never expected,” said host Michael Barbaro. “It's become as big, if you do the math, as primetime Fox News."