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Stories of news, creativity and the internet, told to Suchandrika Chakrabarti | Shortlisted: Best Host at The Lovie Awards (the European Webby Awards) 2019 | Heard on BBC Radio 4 | Newsletter: | Instagram: @freelancepod | Twitter: @freelance_pod_

Stories of news, creativity and the internet, told to Suchandrika Chakrabarti | Shortlisted: Best Host at The Lovie Awards (the European Webby Awards) 2019 | Heard on BBC Radio 4 | Newsletter: | Instagram: @freelancepod | Twitter: @freelance_pod_


United Kingdom


Stories of news, creativity and the internet, told to Suchandrika Chakrabarti | Shortlisted: Best Host at The Lovie Awards (the European Webby Awards) 2019 | Heard on BBC Radio 4 | Newsletter: | Instagram: @freelancepod | Twitter: @freelance_pod_






Alex Farrow on how stand-up comedy and teaching inform each other

This episode is all about how to put together a live solo one-hour show and other comedy things as comedian, director and teacher Alex Farrow joins me on the podcast. Teaching is a performance and lot of former teachers find their way into comedy. Alex had to figure out how both teaching and comedy work over Zoom during lockdown, as he continued to work in both capacities. Between writing and performing his newest Fringe hour, 'Philosophy Pig' and organising the Mind Oxford Gala through...


"I've found a lot of positives from being on Twitter" - comedian and PR Vix Leyton on how her two careers work together in a digital age

Freelance Pod is back with some comedy-focussed episodes! I've made a little entry into the comedy industry during lockdown, and the pod is following me into this wild new world... Please note the new url for the newsletter, Writing by Moonlight, which is now on Buttondown: If you were already a newsletter subscriber, you'll have moved over to the new newsletter with me - if you're not and love reading it, why not subscribe now? Now, onto this...


Critiquing the media in a digital age, with Mic Wright and his newsletter, Conquest of the Useless

Journalist, poet and publisher / writer of media criticism newsletter Conquest of the Useless, Mic Wright guests on this episode. This is the last one of the current second season. Don't worry though, I'll be back with more great guests later in the year! Mic both works within the media, and makes a living critiquing it, through his newsletter and Twitter feed. Digital platforms have allowed all kinds voices to be heard, and fair criticism of our media industry is vital. On this episode,...


The future of work is everyone using their influence, with writer Lauren Razavi

Lauren Razavi joins me on this episode to talk about the future of work, how writers can use influencer tools to benefit their careers and what the digital nomad lifestyle might look like post-COVID-19. At a tricky moment when we're gingerly leaving lockdown and wondering how our offices are going to work (or, if you're freelance like me, if you'll ever get to work anywhere other than home, help!) it's helpful to speak to Lauren, who's spent a lot of her career writing and speaking about...


From the Egyptian revolution to pandemic lockdown, with Kim Fox of The American University in Cairo

In 2011, two years after American radio producer and reporter Kim Fox had moved to Cairo to take up a teaching role at The American University of Cairo, the Egyptian Revolution happened, in response to increasing police brutality on what would turn out to be the dying days of President Hosni Mubarak's presidency. Kim spent time at the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, which involved up to 2 million people. Over a decade later, the scenes she witnessed in Cairo are being repeated in...


"Dialling down the feminism" with writer and comedian Alex Bertulis-Fernandes

Alex Bertulis-Fernandes is a comedian and writer. She's been doing stand-up for the past year, and she is writing a memoir while being mentored on the Penguin WriteNow mentoring scheme*. Alex and I met at the late, much-loved Clean Prose writers' space a few months ago, at a memoir-writing workshop taught by writer Cathy Rentzenbrink. Alex was actually the person who broke some comedy news to me last week - that I was a nominee for the Funny Women Stage Awards 2020 - she had been in the...


"Grief is an incredibly creative experience" - Author Flora Baker on self-publishing The Adult Orphan Club

Freelance writer and author Flora Baker has combined memoir and a self-help guide in her first book, The Adult Orphan Club. Flora lost her mother at 20, and her father at 30, just a few years ago. We 'met' via the Young Orphans Whatsapp group, although thanks to lockdown we have not yet met in person. After her mother's death, Flora went travelling for five years, and detailed her adventures on her blog, Flora the Explorer. She admits now that the travelling allowed her to postpone doing...


MEL Magazine deputy editor Alana Levinson on what The Great Solicited Dick Pic Experiment reveals about digital journalism

MEL Magazine's deputy editor Alana Levinson joins me remotely from Los Angeles on this episode, to talk about how necessary editing is for good writing - but it's been devalued in a digital world where any of us can press publish whenever we like. Sometimes, editing can feel like a judgement on the quality of our writing [bad, we assume], but Alana wants to reassure freelance journalists looking to pitch MEL that editing is a collaboration, to make the article the best that it can be. And...


From Anonymous Animals to Animal Crossing: Marie Foulston's lockdown party in a spreadsheet

When I saw Marie Foulston's tweet about the lockdown houseparty that she threw in a spreadsheet, I knew that I had to invite her onto the podcast to hear all about it! Marie is now a freelance creative producer and playful curator, and was most recently Curator of Videogames at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. During her time working there, she was Lead Curator of the 'Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt' exhibition, and you can read more about it in this New York Times piece: 'Playing...


"Content is one of the beautiful things about the internet" - Book editor Parul Bavishi on writing in a pandemic

Joining The Writers' Hour every morning for one week early on in lockdown helped me break through the cobwebs and write the outline of the book that I've been working on for the past year, in fits and starts. I used the hour to write longhand, which always helps unlock my creativity. The Writer's Hour is a simple idea: every weekday morning between 8 and 9am BST, the founders of The London Writers' Salon, Parul Bavishi and Matt Trinetti, hold a Zoom meeting where writers turn up, enter into...


Imposter syndrome, social media and getting through a pandemic lockdown

We're tackling some big subjects on this episode of Freelance Pod: imposter syndrome, how social media leads to 'compare and despair' and how living under a pandemic lockdown affects our sense of self. Joining me for this episode is Dr. Richard Orbé-Austin, author and licensed psychologist in the state of New York. He's particularly interested in how freelancers and creatives can build strategies to combat imposter syndrome. Social media shows off everyone's highlight reels, but it doesn't...


Live show with Smoke & Mirrors author Gemma Milne at The Boulevard Theatre Soho

Freelance Pod is back after a little break! It's now a monthly podcast, but everything else stays the same. Of course, until the Coronavirus Lockdown is over, it's going to be remote record all the way... So this episode is the live show from November 2019, when author Gemma Milne joined me onstage at the beautiful Boulevard Theatre in Soho, London. Gemma's book Smoke & Mirrors: How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It is available for pre-order now, and is out on 23rd April. It...


Grieving our mothers online, with author Rachel Vorona Cote

Author Rachel Vorona Cote joins Suchandrika Chakrabarti on Freelance Pod's first birthday episode, to talk about grieving in a digital age. We first spoke after I read Rachel's Longreads piece, The Fraught Culture of Online Mourning (, earlier this year. Rachel had lost her mother 18 months before writing the essay. She took to the internet during her mother's last illness, tweeting updates. Soon after her death,...


"A box of neon sex delights" - Standard Issue meets Freelance Pod at the Boulevard Theatre, Soho

It's a Standard Issue x Freelance Pod crossover episode! I met up with Jen Offord, Mickey Noonan and Hannah Dunleavy at the Boulevard Theatre, Soho, to talk about our upcoming live shows there, how the internet has changed journalism, feminism and what their live recording has in store for the audience. Here's the Instagram album containing the picture we talk about in the cold open. It's definitely worth a look, especially if you love neon! You'll also hear a little bit from writer Gemma...


"During war, all relationships are temporary" - London Podcast Festival live show with Syrian refugee, Abdulwahab Tahhan

This very special episode of Freelance Pod was recorded in front of a live audience at the London Podcast Festival in September 2019! Pod fave Abdulwahab Tahhan returns for this 90-minute episode, in conversation on-stage at Kings Place with host Suchandrika Chakrabarti. Syrian refugee, stand-up comedian, journalist, lecturer, a person who's now clear on what the word 'loo' means... Abdul's got some good stories to tell. He takes us on a journey from his childhood in Aleppo all the way to...


The Telegraph's head of social, Beth Ashton, on news in a multi-platform age

Beth Ashton, The Telegraph's head of social media, kindly invited me over to their offices to tell me about how they do... social media. Traditionally, The Tele's newspaper readers have been amongst the oldest in the UK, which should present a challenge to converting them into online readers. They've also got a metered paywall and Premium content that stops quick and easy reads or sharing. Nevertheless, as Beth tells us, The Tele is one of the few news websites to make Snapchat work, and to...


BBC Radio 4 Extra's Amanda Litherland on her Podcast Radio Hour, comedy and interviewing

BBC Radio 4 Extra's Podcast Radio Hour has become another way to discover great podcasts, as well as an opportunity for some lucky podcasters to get heard on the radio. Host and producer Amanda Litherland came up with the idea a few years ago, and found herself thrown in front of the microphone. Luckily, her comedy background has helped her presenting, although she is open about only practice can give you interviewing skills - and the confidence to ask those questions. On this episode, we...


Guide to the London Podcast Festival 2019 with programmer Zoe Jeyes

Here it is, the Freelance Pod guide to the London Podcast Festival 2019, with programmer Zoë Jeyes! Zoë is Deputy MD and Comedy Programmer at Kings Place, and has been working there since it opened 11 years ago. A longtime podcast fan, she first floated the idea of a festival in 2014, with the first one going ahead in 2016. Since then, podcasting as a medium - and an industry - has exploded, and the 2019 festival is set to be the biggest one yet, with 60 live shows and a whole weekend of...


Former Sunday Times Style editor Jackie Annesley on swapping newspapers for tech

"I loved being a journalist," writes Jackie Annesley in a frank essay about losing her last job in journalism, as editor of The Sunday Times Style supplement, where, among many other things, she commissioned the PanDolly podcast from two of her columnists; it's now better known by its second name, The High Low, with journalists Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. Jackie's exit from The Sunday Times is accompanied with euphemisms about 'replacement' and 'commercial decisions'. In the months...


Matt Cooke of Google News Labs still buys his local newspaper

Matt Cooke is Head of Partnerships & Training, Google News Lab, part of the Google News Initiative. Google News has been a major factor in completely changing how news is indexed, distributed, discovered and consumed. That's because the internet has changed news distribution to include you, the reader, the audience, yes you, you control what you want to see, when you want to see it. Alongside sharing and self-publishing on social media, Google indexing news has completely changed the...