Avoiding Target Fixation in Your Podcast (Secondary Blog Post)

By Daniel Di Santo

My topic centers on data communication in emerging aviation technology. In particular, it was inspired by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian airlines flight 370. One month in, Researching was beginning to look quite difficult, because in all honesty, not much was yet known about the cause of the disaster. My intent was to find scholar-grade commentary about the threat that cyber-attacks could pose to the airline industry. Unfortunately, scholarly articles were going to be especially tough to find, because not enough time had elapsed since the accident.

The topic turned out to be fine, but it needed a different approach. What appeared to be a small adjustment taught me that knowing your overarching message is absolutely essential. By focusing too heavily on a promising case study, I acquired target fixation, temporarily failing to see the overall direction my episode should take.

Thankfully this target fixation was not fatal. Instead, it forced me to face the issue from a different angle. Focusing on just one single incident, no matter how critically important, would not get me anywhere. To avoid this problem, I added relevant examples from other aviation accidents which related or added to the first one. Looking at what they all had in common, I discovered that they all centered on the broader topics of cyber-warfare and the aviation industry.

If you run into the same problems, look for similarities in your subtopics. Make the content specific while causing it to serve an overall idea. If you still need more content, then broaden the scope of your subject, or talk about the general implications for a relevant field. In summary, just keep the big picture in mind, and you will successfully avoid podcast target fixation.