TEGNA launches new podcast “Bomber”

Breaking Open the Vault

There are vaults of valuable archive footage and reporting in the virtual — or actual — basement of every local TV news station around the country. TEGNA realized that, and decided to make use of it in a new, innovative way by launching a digital content studio that they’re calling VAULT Studios.

Starting with podcasts, VAULT Studios will offer high-quality storytelling opportunities from the company’s rich archive of real-life cases investigated by TEGNA journalists from around the country.

“Engaging with our audiences in new and innovative ways — across multiple platforms — is essential to our growth,” said Adam Ostrow, TEGNA’s Chief Digital Officer, in a press release. “VAULT will draw on our decades of outstanding local journalism in areas such as true crime, cold cases and unsolved mysteries to create new content offerings for today’s digital consumer.”

This new venture will begin with a collaborative podcast called “Bomber.” The podcast will recount the 19 days in March 2108 when 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt planted a series of homemade bombs around Austin neighborhoods, killing two, injuring five others and paralyzing an entire city. “Bomber” will also tell the story of how law enforcement was able to bring the terror to an end, and answer questions that still linger a year later.

The podcast will be produced by VAULT Studios, and will highlight the collaborative reporting between KVUE — TEGNA’s station in Austin — and the Austin American Statesman — the local daily newspaper.

Podcasts have grown in popularity in recent years, and TV stations around the country have taken advantage of telling stories through this medium. A few months ago, we brought you the story of “Cold,” a highly successful true-crime podcast produced by Dave Cawley from KSL Radio in Salt Lake City. In that case, both TV and radio staff combined to investigate and tell the story of this cold case.

“Bomber” will be hosted by a familiar name as well, TEGNA’s national Verify correspondent Jason Puckett. We talked to Puckett and other Verify correspondents recently about the work they do during breaking news events — like the Austin Serial Bomber. While the coverage at the time of the bombing focused on revealing the truth in what people were posting on social media, the podcast format allows reporters to take a deeper dive into what happened during those 19 days and the months that followed.

“Bomber” will launch March 15 with its first episode “A Loud Boom,” and new episodes will be released each Friday through April 19.

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