Really? A podcast?
Podcast. The 21st century version of the radio, except downloadable, and with not as many restrictive limits. Because it’s not being broadcasted through radio bandwaves, many podcasts are up to the discretion of the producers to include/exclude certain content. Even though many of us still tune into our favorite radio stations during our daily commutes to work, we relate it to something archeaic – since we now have the internet to download our own music. And the same goes for podcasts, because they’re so reminiscent of the radio, that they have yet to become mainstream even though it’s relatively new, yet not.
If you’re to listen to one podcast, Serial is it.
Quite recently a new one shot to podcast stardom. Even before its official debut, Serial was already ranked at the #1 position on iTunes and continued to hold that position for the weeks that followed. It currently has more than 5 million downloads and holds the title of the most downloaded podcast of all time. What makes it even more astounding is the fact that its virality wasn’t intentional. The producers themselves were surprised by its popularity. Perhaps they’ve stumbled upon the perfect podcast algorithm. Luckily for us, they took advantage of their success and a second season featuring a different story is currently in the works. But I digress, enough of algorithms and back to the original story.
Serial is a re-investigation exploring the 15 year old murder case of Hae Min Lee and the potential wrongfully convicted Adnan Musad Syed. It unfolds as a weekly episodic telling of the homicide ruling of Hae’s death. She disappeared and her body was identified almost two months after her disappearance. Less than 3 weeks later, her ex-boyfriend was charged with first-degree murder, and almost a year later he was convicted of being guilty even though he pleaded innocent.
We can’t reveal too much without giving away too many details and coloring your impression of the whole situation before hearing about it for yourself. But basically, Serial is an investigative-journalism podcast that is narrated by Sarah Koenig, and is produced by the already popular radio program, This American Life. It explores the non-fiction story of the 1999 case in a detailed retelling that goes into depths of unanswered questions which makes us ask: was Adnan Musad Syed wrongfully convicted? There just isn’t enough evidence, too many loose ends, too many questions that weren’t answered, and too many pieces of information that were ignored. How exactly did the prosecution convince the jury to their resultant conviction?
I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with Serial.
But what exactly is it that makes this podcast so riveting and addicting? I’ve personally listened to 11 of the 12 episodes within less than 24 hours. So I can attest to the fact that it’s become an obsession to complete all 12 episodes. That narration sucks you into this parellax where you aren’t escaping the real world since it’s more fact-sharing as opposed to story telling. But at the same time, everything is so rivetting since you know that it’s a part of a very real picture. All this actually happened. And the narrative seems as if you’re reliving the whole experience. It’s as if you’re a part of something that’s happening right then and there, and you’re getting a private insider’s peak into the police investigation. Being apart of something so intimate feels so rewarding.
But really keeps everyone hooked is the suspense and tension. Throughout the entire series, you always get this little tugging feeling that something is not right, but no one ever truly comes out and says anything. Who’s really lying, and who’s really telling the truth? It’s so difficult to tell because so many of the facts are contradicting. Or maybe it’s Sarah Koenig’s soothing voice and patient tone that keeps us coming back for more. Regardless of the fact, all I know that is that I’m addicted and can’t wait to listen to the final installment of the first season.
[quote_center]After listening to Serial, who do you think killed Hae?[/quote_center]
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