Enter my newfound obsession: investigative journalism podcasts.
I’ve never really gotten into the whole podcast thing, but recently (thanks to my Investigative Journalism class) I stumbled upon Serial–a podcast narrated by Sarah Koenig who investigates the 1999 murder of 17-year old Hae Min Lee throughout a 12 episode series. Koenig, herself, reaches out to all the associated people and evidential sources from a FIFTEEN year old case. She literally asks people associated with the case if they remember what they were doing on a specific day fifteen years ago. I mean, that’s crazy! But, hey, investigative journalism is a pretty crazy field in its essence. This gives a whole new Fifth Estate approach to investigative journalism, especially with the fact that we listeners can feel like we’re a part of the investigation as we follow Koenig through her investigative process. Throughout the podcast, she looks further into the situations surrounding Hae’s murder like her convicted murderer and ex-boyfriend, the man that discovered her body who also happens to be a chronic streaker, and much more until the story gets even stranger.
I’ve read up on the criticism that hit Serial pretty hard regarding the fact that the entire real-life “murder mystery” type of thing comes off with a pretty strong sensationalistic connotation. We’re talking about a real young woman that died; real people who went to trial and hell and back just to figure out what exactly happened to her. While I can surely understand this, it doesn’t seem like Serial should be singled out in the midst of all the other shows out there that essentially do the exact same thing. Take the highly-esteemed show, 60 Minutes, for example. Both Serial and 60 minutes include a reporter who investigates some sort of hard-hitting case.
Nowadays in the Digital Age, to be frank, it’s near-impossible to avoid sensationalism with the way media is framed. In the name of journalism, I feel like it’s okay to just chill and be curious about something. Of course, with the inevitable sensationalism, it is surely not impossible to still maintain a sense of respect for the case and subjects you’re investigating, which I believe Koenig embodies in Serial. All the more reason to love this podcast, right?
Seriously, or rather, Serially guys. Just listen to the first episode of Serial and I bet you will be just as hooked as me! If you love mysteries and are a curious eager-beaver like me, I totally recommend you check out this podcast!