Serial: A Podcast

The term “podcast” is not new to me, but I’ve never really listened to a “podcast” before, especially a non-fiction crime story, as I tend to lean more toward television shows or movies. I did find, however, that I really enjoyed listening to the podcast “Serial” hosted by Sarah Koenig covering the genre of investigating journalism. I love unsolved mysteries and crimes and although this one was solved, I feel that this case has the ability to be reopened. The thing that drew me in the most was the fact that it is a true story and that it is about high school students. Thinking that a tragedy like this happened to people my age gives me chills.

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Presenting investigating journalism in a podcast format is interesting. It leaves less room for bias because the viewer can’t see the real people, they can only hear them. By leaving out facial expressions, body language, etc., it allows for the listener to create his/her own mental picture of the people involved and the situation at hand. I like the idea of only being able to hear it. The narrator’s words partnered with the listener’s imagination help paint a unique picture of the people involved, as well as allowing the story to take on more of a personal meaning.

I must admit though that I miss seeing the reactions of people when questioned, and their body language when telling their side of a story. It often gives me insight to who they are and whether they are hiding something or not telling the whole story. I seem to make better connections with people or get a good “read” on someone when I can not only hear them but see them too.

“Serial” has become a very popular podcast over the years, based on a true story. All the characters and voices heard on the podcast are real. I wonder what the families are feeling now after listening to this podcast and having it blow up so big? The families must feel a lot of mixed emotions to this popular podcast. If I were the parent whose son was convicted of murder at age 17, I would probably feel betrayed. Thinking I have spent the last 17 years raising my son to be a good man, only to have him disrespect me in the worse possibly way is like taking a knife to my back and twisting it!

Because of the popularity of this podcast, I think the family would also feel uncomfortable or exposed. At least in a newspaper or on TV news, a story like this can be forgotten quickly once thrown out or watched, but in this day and age with social media being so dominant, this story may never go away. Not to mention the fact that the entire world is now privy to this sensitive story. I would definitely feel sorry for my son because so many people see him as a murderer, but his family still believes he is innocent. Maybe, just maybe the case could be re-opened.

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Annan (left), his girl friend (right)

Personally, I would have much rather read this in a book, then have listened to it as a podcast. I tend to get easily distracted when all I have to do is listen because my eyes and mind tend to wander and I get unfocused. With reading, one does not get to hear the voices, but an effective picture can still be developed through the words on the page. Reading gives me the time to concentrate on what is being said, by allowing time to process, picture, and analyze the words. I find with the podcast medium, I am constantly rewinding and going back because I have not listened closely enough. On the flip side, with a podcast I get the chance to listen to someone’s opinion and hear their tone of voice. It gives me a chance to analyze the way the person is talking to get more into the subject and to try and find a deeper meaning. Both options have their pros and cons and it comes down to a personal choice.

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The narrator begins the podcast by talking about memories, and how well people can remember things on a given day. If I were to think back a couple weeks, there is no way I would be able to remember clearly what happened, so why do the police think that anyone else in this case can? I can barley remember what I ate for breakfast two days ago! I think its absurd to try and get a teenager to try and remember what happened six weeks ago. No one can remember a specific day at a specific time that long ago, that’s just crazy, so to me, the accusations that the police put on Annan are based on lies and story telling, not true facts.

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