Student-created podcast explores the saturated society and media environment
At 10:28 on Friday morning, Media School Adjunct Instructor Carolyn Hadlock’s MSCH-A 360 students are handed X-acto knives and white pieces of fabric. Paint splatter, oil pastels, and paper with a tripod hanging overhead display how students Cat DeSantis and Brittany Seal want to execute the art direction for the upcoming season of Hadlock’s “Beautiful Thinkers” podcast, Season VI: Saturated. Similar to a real-world creative agency environment, DeSantis and Seal are in charge of the art direction and meticulously arrange a collage to encapsulate a perfect portrait to promote the podcast.
It’s crunch time with the launch party steadily approaching on Nov. 3, and the team at Franklin Hall is hard at work. Students in the course work on all aspects of the show, including interviewing guests, promoting and advertising the show, recording the show in Media School studios, and working with Hadlock on the development of ideas.
After 30 years and working up to executive creative director and partner at Young & Laramore, a creative agency in Indianapolis, Hadlock decided to pursue The Beautiful Thinkers Project, a project she founded at the agency in 2020 full-time at the start of 2023. She’s interviewed some of the brightest minds in advertising and marketing for the project.
Now, on her mission to foster the next generation of beautiful thinkers, she guides a dynamic class of journalism, advertising, and PR students who are ready to create ideas.
As an instructor, Hadlock wants to create the time and space to activate each student. She wants to discover the creative skills and passion of each person, to channel their interests to manifest into a great podcast season. While she’s the host, Hadlock explains how this is the students’ season.
In addition to the actual podcasting recording, students document their thoughts in journal entries and TikToks, familiarizing themselves with exercises to practice their form of beautiful thinking. Each group picked their guests based on what is compelling to them and gave input every step of the way. Natalie Ingalls, another senior, was responsible for creating original music for the season to be used as the podcast intro and for marketing efforts.
Behind everything is a manifesto, an explanation for being. The goal of season VI of the “Beautiful Thinkers” podcast is to expose the unspoken truth about saturation in our society. The introduction of the manifesto, written by senior Mina Denny, asks and exclaims “Another shooting? How can I donate? What did the president tweet!? I should delete Twitter. She got her butt done!? My body is not enough.”
To put simply, these students are trying to navigate the echo chamber we all exist in – and most importantly, trying to find a positive among it. To be a beautiful thinker while life moves at hyper speed is to see the good in saturation. Hadlock and her students have sought out people who use their creativity and knowledge to rise above the noise and carve out niches in media to help others combat it.
“We pretty much have control over what we want to say, what do we want it to look like? Who do we want to feature?,” says senior DeSantis, who is studying media advertising. “So it’s a lot of work, but it’s extremely rewarding, which I think is what you want to see out of Media School classes.” “If you’re a maker, someone who wants to make something, these are the types of classes that really benefit you, and will give you great work on your portfolio.”
Season VI: Saturated of The Beautiful Thinkers podcast launches Friday, Nov. 3, with a party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Franklin Hall commons. Professor Edward Hirt and Connor Hitchcock of Homefield Apparel, from Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the season, will share a short discussion about fanship and how it impacts the creation of community. Light appetizers and drinks will be served, alongside a gift basket raffle.