Treat your ears ✨ Wonder Tools

New journalism podcasts, stellar music sites, and simple sounds for focusing

Last week I wrote about using Eagle to organize images. This week I’m focusing on 🎵 audio resources.🎧

Here's what’s in this Wonder Tools post:

I shared my thoughts on “How to Create a Digital Teaching Toolkit” in this week’s episode of The Teaching in Higher Ed podcast.

Focus — or relax — with these sounds

Defonic’s Ocean Noise Generator lets you listen to the peaceful ocean, the calming sea, or the simple sounds of a row boat or the beach. has other soothing sounds — e.g. forest, fireplace, evening crickets— that you can combine into whatever soundscape helps you focus or relax.

Ambient.Coffee is simple and handy for deep focus, especially if street or people sounds around you are distracting. Set the site’s focus timer, pick whichever ambient sounds suit your taste, and get back to work.

Coffitivity and Sounds of Colleagues feature cafe-like sounds. Coffitivity quotes university research pointing out that "a moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition."


Tunes to spice up your summer workdays

Radiooooo keeps getting better. This free music site, which lets you tune into music from any decade from across the world, has a neat shuffle mode to travel the world thru tunes. Or select multiple decades and places and let the sounds flow. Or select slow mode for “chilling,” fast for dancing, or weird for “bugging out.”

Poolsuite Spin back to the 90s with this oddball music hub with a pre-Web aesthetic.

Radio Garden — Reader pick: ”I love this radio app. It’s a repository of all imaginable radio stations in the world. It allows you to navigate through the planet and search for a specific station or just explore a particular country or area. It has been wonderful for me to discover new local radio stations in Germany. It is free if you can tolerate some ads.” [Recommended by Olaya Argüeso, editor-in-chief at Correctiv, an award-winning German non-profit investigative news organization. Check out Olaya’s newsletter, Una vez al mes, spotlighting notable recent Spanish-language investigative journalism.]

Update your Podcast Queue

I love listening to podcasts that are just the right length for a walk. If you’re looking for a new show to listen to, try one of these 60 podcasts I’ve enjoyed most on walks over the past pandemic year. If you’re looking for a new way to listen to podcasts, here’s why I recommend the free iOS Castro app. Podcast Republic is a good Android option with similar features, originally recommended by Rob, a Wonder Tools reader.

Listen to these journalism podcasts

On the Media used to be a rare podcast about journalism. Now there are plenty to choose from, including these:

The Data Journalism Podcast Hosts Alberto Cairo and Simon Rogers interview industry colleagues. A recent episode of this new show included star data journalist and educator Lam Thuy Vo, a colleague of mine at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, who talks about making data more relatable and humane. 

Recode Media with Peter Kafka explores the intersection between  media, entertainment, and technology. Kafka, a well-known media reporter, interviews people like NYTimes CEO Meredith Levien and the founders of Substack. I like how Kafka addresses news business models and nudges guests to add specificity w/ follow-ups. 

The Digiday podcast hosts compelling interviews about the business side of journalism and media. Episodes focus on things like why Hearst is experimenting with print for its digital food brand Delish and how Emily Atkin went from being a staff writer to being independent on Substack.    

It's All Journalism calls itself the “broccoli of media-focused podcasts,” which makes it sound boring. But it’s an interesting listen because of the guests the show hosts, including, most recently, Shaheen Pasha and Yukari Kane talking about the Prison Journalism Project.

The Kicker Podcast is a discussion show from the Columbia Journalism Review that kicks around recent controversies and buzzy industry topics. A recent episode focused on how Covid protocols would impact access to olympic athletes and explored the ways in which access to stars like Naomi Osaka may be changing.   

The Journalism Salute describes itself as “a podcast that spotlights important journalism organizations & people.” Recent episodes included an interview with Dr. Ed Madison, a prof at the University of Oregon and co-founder of the Journalistic Learning Initiative, aimed at introducing young students to journalism.’s podcast focuses on innovations in digital journalism with a British perspective. It has an eclectic mix of topics and smart guests.

Defunct journalism podcasts with good archived episodes

Daniel Levitt's Inside The Newsroom included interviews with the Atlantic’s Olga Khazan and the Wall Street Journal’s Louise Story. Levitt’s now focusing on his Substack

Tricky, now on hiatus, focused on what Emily Bell and Heather Chaplin saw as the thorniest problems in journalism. Topics included information warfare and the shift away from “techno-utopian boosterism towards increasingly critical analysis.”

Have another journalism podcast you like? 👇 Drop a comment below to add others.

Leave a comment

Two more recommended podcasts

Blindspot: Tulsa Burning is a powerful series that launched recently on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Series host KalaLea, who produces features for WNYC and the New Yorker Radio Hour, is a graduate of CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and our Entrepreneurial Journalism Program.

The Broad Experience focuses on women and the workplace, with a rich archive of 176 episodes featuring women in a wide range of fields. It’s hosted by Ashley Milne-Tyte, also a graduate of our Newmark-J Entrepreneurial Journalism program.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

Leave a comment