How a news anchor from KC created a nationally-recognized podcast with over 10 million downloads
Overland Park Native Erica Mandy was tired of being a talking head.
The former broadcast journalist, who now lives in Los Angeles, worked in broadcast news for ten years, reciting scripted headlines that she felt were alarmist and unfair. In 2017, she shifted gears to start her own current events podcast, The NewsWorthy. The quick-hitting pod—daily episodes are just ten minutes long—has received shout-outs from major publications like Harper’s Bazaar, WWD and Fast Company and made it into the top twenty-five in Apple Podcast’s daily news category. To top it off, the podcast hit ten million downloads at the end of 2020.
Read on to learn more about The NewsWorthy and the Kansas City-born journalist.
What has your journalism path looked like?
I was an intern at KMBC right after I graduated. I learned so much from them, and they actually helped me get my first real job in TVnews, which was in Columbia, Missouri. I then worked my way up from Columbia to Portland and then, most recently, worked in Los Angeles at the CBS station.
Why did you start The Newsworthy?
Ultimately, what happened was that I was hearing from a lot of people [and the same] words kept coming up over and over again—that the news was too depressing, time-consuming, overwhelming or biased.
In 2017, I did a lot of research and found that news burnout, or news fatigue, is a real thing for about two-thirds of Americans. While I was working in TV news, I thought, “How can I create something to try to help solve this problem so that people don’t tune out the news altogether?” I got into the medium of podcasts and I saw an opportunity to be at the forefront of how people consume their news while also creating a new style of news that I thought would resonate with people who weren’t happy with their options.
Who is your target audience?
It’s for those who want to know what’s happening in the world by the time they walk into work in the morning (or Zoom in to work these days). Whether they’re working parents or stay-at-home parents, they’re busy and don’t have the time to get lost in clickbait notifications coming through their phones.
Pointing to the podcast’s name, how do you determine what’s newsworthy?
First, we make sure that we get the biggest stories of the day out there. These are the impactful topics that you’ll likely hear in conversation at work or with friends and family. We also always include a variety of stories and make sure that it’s not just doom and gloom—we look for the fun stuff and the latest in technology and business news. We also include sports news here and there. When I reported before the Super Bowl, I was like, “I know I’m not biased about news, but I’m a little biased about this. I want the Chiefs to win.”
Nordstrom at Oak Park Mall
“I used to work here and I still think about the customer service training I got here. It really set me up for success in running a business today.”
“It’s a Southwestern restaurant I went to all the time in high school. Their food was amazing. I’m so sad it’s closed.”
“I remember when people were starting Facebook groups to get a Trader Joe’s to Kansas City. Now there are two!”