I am officially a podcast person. I love the way that sounds. To me a podcast person is someone who travels to Arabia and rides camels, doesn’t look at the prices of gourmet cheeses, has an ivy-league degree, and lives in a place where there is someone in the elevator who presses the floor button for you and greets you with a “hello Miss. Davidson”. Yep, this is how I feel when listening to a podcast. For some reason, I have a connotation that a podcast equals fancy elegance. Maybe because until recently I didn’t know anyone (of my age) that listened to them. To me, podcasts were for a more refined older audience, and one who doesn’t swoon over Magic Mike nor buys the latest Taylor Swift album.
Nonetheless I have converted. Why? Because of Serial. I originally heard about the podcast Serial from one of my favorite health blogs. According to Wikipedia Serial is “a podcast exploring a nonfiction story over multiple episodes…Sarah Koenig created and hosts the series, which is co-produced by Koenig and Julie Snyder, both producers of This American Life.(NPR)” (Wikipedia)
Serial is a weekly podcast that explores a real life murder of 17-year-old Hae Min Lee that happened in Baltimore of 1999. The convicted killer Adnan Syed has been in prison for over 15 years and the creator Sarah Koenig goes into great detail about the case and his possible innocence.
From the very beginning I was hooked. Koenig is an amazing storyteller, originally an American journalist, and the facts and explanations around the murder are riveting. I have listed to all 11 episodes over a short period of five days. In short, I am addicted. It is not just the crime itself which I find interesting( I’ll admit I enjoy SVU and similar crime dramas) but, I enjoy the way in which the podcast is produced and told. The journalistic side of me loves the structure of the program and how Koenig is suspense-fully telling us the story each week. If interested this article by NPR explains the background behind Serial. Also I have respect for the amount of work and effort she has put in to following leads, conducting interviews, and journalistically reporting the crime moment by moment. All while sharing her doubts and concerts on a national platform.
As for the story/crime itself I am torn each episode as whether I think Syed is innocent or guilty. I am glued to the story and can not wait to see how it ends. The last episode is this Thursday December 18th. However, it has struck me at multiple instances that this is real life with real consequences. Although set up similar to a TV drama, there may not be a happy ending with a pretty bow and all the corners tied up. There is a possibility of never knowing who killed the 17-year-old girl- which is crazy.
I don’t want spoil the series with specific details, but would highly recommend listening. I have enjoyed everything Serial has to offer and even love bouncing back ideas on who actually did it with my friends, who are fans of the podcast as well. Overall, I think that NPR hit a home run with this spin-off and that is especially exciting for the world of journalism. This article by the New York times is an excellent interview with creator Sarah Koenig. It is so widely popular there is even a BuzzFeed poll titled the “Definite Serial Obsessive Poll”, that yes, I have taken.
Grab a bowl of Cereal and listen to Serial for free HERE.