Five minutes with The Drop host and culture news editor Osman Faruqi

You’ve long been a podcast convert – you were previously the head of audio at Schwartz Media where you worked on the 7am podcast, and hosted a weekly podcast called The Culture. Do you remember the first podcast you ever listened to? What do you love about the format?

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I think it was Serial, the now iconic true-crime podcast that really led to an explosion in the genre. I actually remember not really enjoying the experience (I’m not a huge true crime fan), but I appreciated how powerful audio storytelling can be. To me, podcasts are the perfect midpoint between reading and watching. It’s passive and intimate without bombarding the user with images that prevent them from using their imagination. They’re also very fun to produce.

How do you keep across the latest news, names and trends in arts, culture and entertainment, to keep the podcast content fresh and engaging for both younger and older listeners?

My friends often make fun of me about how much I watch and listen to. The truth is, I don’t get enough sleep but I try my best to stay up to date with everything happening on TV, streaming, film, music, books and art. Thankfully I have a brilliant team of journalists who help bring to my attention things I might miss. I also listen to a lot of other podcasts and read plenty of culture journalism from around the world.

You joined The Age and the Herald in March as culture news editor. What attracted you to the mastheads?

I grew up reading the Herald, it’s how I found out about what was happening in my city, the country and the world. The mastheads are part of the social fabric of Australia and have the best journalists in the country. They also invest deeply in culture journalism, more than any other outlet. The opportunity to lead that team and help shape what we cover and how was too hard to pass up.

Subscribers would also be familiar with your pieces on our opinion pages (where you’ve written on various topics including culture in sport) and you’ve also recently appeared on the ABC’s Sunday morning politics show Insiders. Are there any topics you aren’t comfortable discussing or writing about?

It’s true, I’m weirdly obsessed with politics, culture and sport almost equally. The best moments are when those things overlap, and help tell a story about the world we’re living in. I think there are plenty of areas I’m much more happy reading and learning about than delving into myself – particularly around gender and specific issues around race and identity, where I think there are better people to give space to.

Finally, what podcasts do you listen to religiously and are happy to share with listeners keen to add to their playlists?

I’m hooked on The Rewatchables, it’s one of my favourite film podcasts. Popcast from the NYT is another go-to. Little Gold Men from Vanity Fair is a great Oscars podcast, and I never miss an episode of Roy and HG’s Bludging on the Blindside.

The Drop is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all other podcast platforms now.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.

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