UOW podcast addresses questions that matter

Can You Tell Me Why? puts spotlight on academic expertise to cut through the noise

In a world of fake news, post-truth, and alternative facts, where everyone has an opinion and is shouting it from the rooftops, experts are essential to help us cut through the noise.

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has launched a new podcast series that shines a light on the topics that matter featuring the University’s team of world-class academics.

Blending youthful curiosity with evidence-based expertise, Can You Tell Me Why? Surprising Answers To Difficult Questions (CYTMW), is a chance for students to ask the big questions about what matters to them and hosts Hannah Laxton-Koonce and William Verity find experts with answers, or at least insights that leave them better informed.

The eight-episode series is now available on Apple Podcasts and other streaming services.

Strategic Marketing and Communications Director Emily Osborne said the University was keen to test new and innovative ways of reaching audiences with information they would value.  

“Audiences are hungry for evidence-based answers but it’s up to us to reach them, to do that it’s no longer enough to tell audiences about our expertise, we have to show them,” Ms Osborne said.

“We’ve been on a journey for some time using storytelling in various formats to show audiences the value of a UOW education, its research and more broadly the role of higher education in society.

“The popularity of podcasting is self-evident and it was logical that we’d test the water. We wanted to do it in a way that that was accessible, informative and entertaining.”

Australians have an appetite for podcasts: Edison Research’s report, The Podcast Consumer Australia 2017, shows close to one in three Australians have listened to a podcast.

Close to three quarters of survey respondents (72 per cent) were familiar with the medium, a higher rate than similar research in the United States.

podcast recordingInteresting, informed, intellectual, irreverent ... what more could you ask?

Co-host and UOW journalism alumna Hannah Laxton-Koonce said: “As a journalism grad, UOW helped me find my love of audio and then gave me the chance to put my passion into action.

Can You Tell Me Why? was such an incredible project to be a part of - every episode presented us with new and interesting dilemmas. I hope our listeners have as much fun tackling the questions as we did.”

Co-host and veteran journalist William Verity said whether it's 3D printing bionic ears, asking whether prison ever works, or if millennials will ever be able to afford a house, UOW researchers are engaging in the issues that affect everyday lives.

“By engaging directly with researchers, and bringing our curiosity to their work, Hannah and I hope to unshackle the exciting ideas and discoveries from the narrow confines of academia,” Verity said.

“In a world that's saturated with ill-informed opinion, how refreshing it is to hear the views of well-informed, passionate, independent thinkers talking about issues that confront us all.”

“And what better way to present those ideas than with a podcast? Interesting, informed, intellectual, irreverent ... what more could you ask?”


Find out more about the show at:

Subscribe and listen at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.


  • Can You Tell Me Why? A podcast by the University of Wollongong