What’s the Use of a Podcast?
‘And what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’

Even before Lewis Carroll first penned the tale of an obstinate heroine descending into a world where flamingos are used as croquet mallets and tea parties require bewildering madness, readers have experienced how the written word can both amuse and transport. What is the point of a publication if it doesn’t spark a bit of conversation?  

During this semester-long experiment, we aimed to spark conversation with a multimedia publication—complete with print, digital, and our first-ever podcast series. We couldn’t help but take Carroll’s advice by getting curiouser and curiouser: What is the use of a podcast?  

Sure, podcasts like Las Culturistas can fuel a deep cleaning of your neglected apartment. Listening to an episode of Keep It! smooths a delay in traffic or when waiting for the metro. But, with so much media to consume, why spend time with a couple of podcasters flooding your neurons?    

In four episodes, the BackMatter podcast brings our listeners down the rabbit hole of what it means to build a literary community from scratch by speaking with the people who made this issue possible. 

In our first episode, hear from Rachel Rosenfelt, one of the founders of the program that hosts this magazine, Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism at The New School for Social Research, who brought the vulgarities of the world into the classroom. She asks, is it possible to create a publication through the power of collective belief? 

Discover how our team put together a magazine from scratch and accomplished what felt impossible in just four months. Hear insights into their individual roles and their thoughts on the challenges and rewards of producing an independent, literary publication.

After all, who in the world are we? Co-hosts Katherine Peach and Tobias Lentz used this podcast to attempt to figure that out, but we think we must have been changed several times since then.  

Fall down this rabbit hole for a look inside the making of BackMatter. What's a publication without conversation, indeed.