After listening to the first episode of the podcast Serial, narrated by Sarah Koenig, I have become intrigued with the development of this case. It follows the story of Adnan Syed, a high school student accused with the murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, another high school student. Lee was found strangled and buried in January of 1999, and Syed was soon after arrested and sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.
Before listening to this podcast, I was skeptical. I am both a visual and kinesthetic learner, and I would generally much rather hold a novel in front of me than have audio to listen to. However, once I adapted to this new medium, I found I really enjoyed listening. The narrator really captured my attention by adding real components of this case such as interviews and phone calls, and I found the case really came to life in my head despite lacking a visual.
Though I did throughly enjoy listening to this first episode, I naturally have trouble focusing on things being said to me, especially over a long duration of time. I find my mind running off track or daydreaming, which takes away from the full experience of the podcast. However, something I enjoyed that did some mediation of this problem was that my hands were free to take notes or fidget which helped me to concentrate while listening to the audio, which is something that cannot be said for reading a novel.
I think that presenting investigative journalism in this way is generally captivating and effective. As mentioned before, podcasts have the ability to add external sources such as interviews and phone calls that allow the narrator to tell the story more effectively than just words on a paper. These additions made the audio much easier to listen to, as opposed to hearing Koenig’s voice for nearly an hour straight.
A benefit I found with the podcasts, as I mentioned before, is that you can multitask while listening. If there were a set of questions to follow the listening, I would be able to freely take notes without having to set my book down and losing my focus in the text. As well, it is more portable than a novel, as you can just throw headphones on and listen to it wherever you need to go, no matter what you are doing.
Something that I considered was putting myself in the shoes of the victim’s family with the release of this popular series. I think that it would be difficult to listen to, and to have the case brought to question again even after justice has been served. I do however would assume that the narrator had to get permission from the family in order to publish the podcasts. On the other hand, the family of Syed could feel various things depending on the reaction of the audience. If the majority believe he is innocent, they must feel like he has a second chance at proving his conviction was wrongful. But if the majority believe he is guilty, they must feel attacked and under the microscope. Their fate, in that way, is dependant on how the narrator displays the evidence.
Overall I enjoyed listening to the first episode of Serial, and I am intrigued and ready to listen to the rest of the series.
Koenig, Sarah. “Serial: The Alibi.” Thames Valley DSB. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.