Serial: modern investigative journalism

I recently decided to start listening to podcasts. Let me rephrase that. I recently decided to start going to the gym. While at the gym, I’ve been sifting through dozens of hours of podcasts accumulated on my phone, and working out a bit on the side.

I tried to listen to several podcasts that friends suggested to me from Pod Save America to Freakonomics, but none of them captured my attention nearly as well as Serial.

Serial is a podcast that deals less with news and current events. It delves into the story of two individuals with extremely curious cases.

Season one examines the story of Adnan Syed, a man who was arrested as a high school senior for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Syed claimed he was innocent from the time he was arrested in 1999 and maintained this claim until today. However, the jury in his trial found enough evidence to imprison him for life.

Serial goes incredibly in depth into Syed’s story. The host, Journalist Sarah Koenig, spent many months on this investigation. She interviews many of Syed’s friends as well as a number of people who provide insight to his case. The story is intriguing and great to listen to on the treadmill.

In the second season, Koenig tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier who became well known for deserting his unit in Afghanistan. She interviews Bergdahl a number of times as well as many soldiers from his unit and high ranking military personnel.

Koenig tells this story with little bias and examines both sides of Bergdahl’s story. Bergdahl claims he didn’t leave selfishly; he did it for the greater good. It’s fascinating to hear his side of the story.

What I love most about Koenig’s podcast are not the stories themselves. Don’t get me wrong, they’re interesting and fun to listen to. But the most impressive part is how deep Koenig goes into her investigation.

In the age of fake news, click-bait and news sources racing to get the story out as quickly as possible, it is truly refreshing to hear quality investigative journalism. Serial just has that element of months of research and in-depth interviews that you will not find in most news stories anymore.

I’m struggling to keep my gym motivation up, but knowing that I have something good to listen to while I’m there is always helpful. Serial is a must-listen for any podcast fans out there. I give Serial 4 out of 4 Jon Wallace heads.

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