May 11 2017 8:30am to May 11 2017 5:00pm

Next Gen Podcast Distribution Protocols:

Innovation and Governance in Open Development Initiatives

Thursday, May 11, 2017, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Harvard Law School campus, Wasserstein Hall
1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA​
Milstein East (room 2036, second floor)

Registration is limited. Please sign up here.


Presented by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School, in Collaboration with the syndicated.media Open Working Group.


On May 11, 2017, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and Tow Center for Digital Journalism will host and facilitate a symposium, in collaboration with the syndicated.media open working group, to address the process of developing standards that support the distribution of syndicated audio content.  The event will look back at the evolution of the RSS protocol and look forward at the need for new technical infrastructure to support an expanding podcast distribution landscape.  Participants will have the opportunity to engage in both higher-level policy discussions and technical deep-dives throughout the course of this one-day event.

The goals of the symposium include furthering cooperation among various players in the world of podcast creation and distribution and consideration of recommendations on standards, enhancements, extensions, and other methods to support the growth of podcasting as an open and inclusive medium.  It will bring together academic, non-profit, and commercial constituencies to address, among other things:

  • the history of media protocols;

  • promises and pitfalls associated with open development initiatives;

  • rights issues relevant to openly syndicated content;

  • questions of governance and stakeholder engagement; and

  • technical planning and implementation for next generation podcast distribution

The symposium will mix talks and panels that generally address these issues (curated by the Berkman Klein and Tow Center teams) with opportunities for breakouts that allow deeper dives into technical questions around distribution protocols for podcasts and other forms of serialized media (facilitated by members of the syndicated.media community).

Registration is limited; sign up here.

The symposium will be followed by a separate, two-day “Audio for Good”  event, co-hosted by PRX, RadioPublic, and the HBS Digital Initiative. Applications to participate can be submitted here.


About the Hosts

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is a research center based at Harvard University.  The Center’s Center's mission is to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.  Berkman Klein is a research center, premised on the observation that what it seeks to learn is not already recorded. The Center’s method is to build out into cyberspace, record data, self-study, and share. Its mode is entrepreneurial nonprofit.

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, established in 2010, provides journalists with the skills and knowledge to lead the future of digital journalism and serves as a research and development center for the profession as a whole. Operating as an institute within Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the Tow Center is poised to take advantage of a unique combination of factors to foster the development of digital journalism. Its New York location affords access to cutting-edge technologists, a strong culture of journalism and multiple journalism and communication schools, with outstanding universities attached to them. The Tow Center is where technology and journalism meet, and where education and practice meet.

Syndicated.media is a community-driven working group with a mission to ensure that podcasting grows to meet the needs of listeners, creators, producers, publishers, advertisers, and developers, without sacrificing the groundwork that has been established to make it an open and inclusive medium. The goal of the working group is to develop clear and comprehensive standards and best practices. The group now includes more than 100 representatives from a growing number of podcast industry stakeholders, including international participants, and intends to incrementally release updates to existing standards and recommendations for new proposals.

Photo courtesy of Alba Cobra

Last updated date

June 26, 2017