The Alibi

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.


Article heading from February 26, 2000 when the Jury finds Syed guilty

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.

The accused Adnan Syed (left) and the victim Hae Min Lee (right)

Overall I enjoyed listening to the first episode of Serial, and I am intrigued and ready to listen to the rest of the series.


Works Cited

Koenig, Sarah. “Serial: The Alibi.” Thames Valley DSB. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.



4 thoughts on “The Alibi

  1. Hey Jessica, I really enjoyed reading your blog! when you said that you tend to get distracted if you are listening to things for a long time, I find that I am the same way. I hate it because when I am trying to focus and get work done it tends to take me longer than I was hoping. I noticed the same thing with podcasts as well, you are able to do multiple things while listening to them. While with books are have to focus everything on it because you want to understand what is going on in the story. Overall I really enjoyed reading your blog, good job!


  2. Hey Jess,
    I think it’s cool that you were able to adapt to the new medium as I for sure could not. I had to read the transcript along with the podcast to focus. However, I think that it is really cool that you took advantage of this new medium to take notes. I like how you were honest throughout your blog post about how you first viewed the medium and I like how you tried to put yourself in the shoes of the family after hearing the podcast. So, do you think Adnan Syed is guilty? Why or why not?


  3. Hey Jess,your blog was very well written and interesting to read! I am also more of a visual learner and would prefer reading a book instead of listening to a podcast because it feels more engaging. I find it difficult to focus on listening to the podcast because my hands were free and I would get distracted easier. Do you think that the publicity that this article has gained is what Hae Min Lee’s family wanted or do you think they would want to keep the case closed since justice had been served in their eyes?


  4. Hey Jess! you had a very interesting blog, I was entertained the whole time. personally I disagree with you that reading is better then listening to the story because I get to hear the tone and emotion behind the voices of different people involved. I feel that listening to it also keeps me more interested but I can understand why reading it would keep you more focussed. Do you think that hearing the voice of the people being interviewed adds substance to the story?


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