The iconic Newsweek has launched its first podcast series, “The Debate.” The weekly show is inspired by an ongoing Newsweek opinion section franchise by the same name, pairing opposing thinkers side-by-side in a written—and now audio—format. Opinion Editor Josh Hammer and Deputy Opinion Editor Batya Ungar-Sargon, who are far apart on the political spectrum, serve as hosts.
Each episode will feature “passionate discourse” between two expert guests, representing different perspectives on a controversial topic, according to a release. Over the course of the conversation, the hosts and guests “explain perspectives, spar over differences and uncover common ground when possible.”
“The Debate” rolled out experimental weekly episodes beginning in April, covering topics that ranged from reparations in the U.S. to Israel vs. Palestinians, and the legalization of marijuana to cancel culture. Without promotion on social media or elsewhere, the show has gained traction, according to the brand.
The first post-launch episode features journalist and lawyer Jill Filipovic, author of “Ok Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” and “The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness,” in debate with political and culture writer Kat Rosenfield, who co-hosts the podcast “Feminine Chaos.” They discuss “Has #MeToo Ruined Dating?”
Additionally, the show has established partnerships with public debate forums American Public Square and Pairagraph. These relationships allow the podcast’s hosts to engage with audience-driven debates, and to tap into prominent voices and engaged citizens from across the country, Newsweek offers.
“Americans have not only come to align themselves within Red and Blue siloes, imbibing differing opinions and narratives—but to see the world itself through prisms of competing facts,” Hammer says. “We at ‘The Debate’ seek to remedy this tragic flaw by delving into the tough, thorny issues. We’ll air it out and hear each other.” Adds Ungar-Sargon, “Many see those they disagree with on policy issues as mortal enemies, people unworthy of convincing. This is an absolute disaster for our nation, and one that only civil discourse and debate can fix.”
“We believe strongly in the value—the necessity—of good-faith discussions of polarizing topics,” notes Nancy Cooper, Newsweek’s Global Editor in Chief. “Over the past year, we’ve worked to create a space for open and challenging conversations—and The Debate section and podcast are succeeding brilliantly in that space.”
Art19 provides The Debate’s podcast platform. Listen HERE. Newsweek was founded 85 years ago. Its online site reaches 100 million people each month across a dozen print and digital platforms.