Welcome, fellow bloggers, to yet another special on Sungwoo’s Blog! I’ve covered my fair share of books- like The Glass Castle- but this is my first ever analysis of a podcast! A couple days ago, I tuned in to the first episode of Serial, a podcast created and narrated by Sarah Koenig. I truly enjoyed listening to this, because it involved kids around my age, making it easier to relate to. The dialogue and script itself was intriguing and Koenig delivered each word with great enthusiasm and inflection. She also included audio clips from others that were involved in the case, such as Jay, the police, and Adnan himself, which I thought was a great touch. Even without any visuals, like TV or movies, the podcast was still able to attract listeners, including me!
Personally, I never found mysteries and investigations very interesting, since it’s usually presented in some sort of cheesy TV show or movie. However, through a podcast, I think investigative journalism gains a lot more appeal! This is all simply due to the fact that a podcast is much more simple, easy to follow, and only have the words
and dialogue to focus on. For instance, when comparing a movie to the original book, just being exposed to all the graphics and sound effects can overwhelm the audience, and the actual dialogue seems irrelevant. Books, on the other hand, let you “feel everything, know everything and LIVE everything” (The Guardian). I believe this is the same with a podcast. Since the audience only have the words to listen to, they can be more locked in on the actual content, rather than being distracted by fancy cinematic images.
I had no idea how popular this Serial podcast really was. In fact, this murder mystery case of Hae Min Lee was the first podcast to reach 5 million downloads, with a total of approximately 40 million downloads as of November 2014 (CNN). However, I personally believe that Lee’s family would feel more pain and sorrow due to the international
success of this podcast. Serial brings up the cruel actions and gruesome detail regarding Lee’s death, as mentioned in the police interrogation scene with Jay. He brings up how “Hae’s lips are all blue, and she’s pretzeled up in the back of the trunk. And she’s dead” (Serial). This was difficult for me to listen to; I couldn’t even begin to imagine how Lee’s family felt when they heard this on the podcast. I believe that more people should be informed about this murder case, yes, but I also have to wonder what’s best for Lee’s grieving family. Truthfully, I don’t think they would want millions of listeners knowing about their beloved daughter’s terrible death.
Throughout the first episode of the podcast, I noticed a reoccurring theme of the human memory and how easily people forget about the tiniest
details. This occurs as our brain pushes away old, most likely useless information in order to make room for new information to store in the brain (Independent Co., UK). What is the result of this? Complete and utter frustration, as mentioned several times in the podcast. Personally, I believe I have great memory; this usually justifies on a test or exam that I tend to ace… However, small details that occur on a normal day, I admit I would also have trouble remembering. This issue of easily forgetting concerns me to a slight degree, since everyone in the podcast seems to be forgetful of the day of Lee’s murder, except for Asia McClain. She seemed to remember a normal day at the library six weeks ago, providing details that were very important in Serial, which I find a little suspicious. However, she could just have an excellent memory, and by writing a letter to Adnan, this could help strengthen her memory of this specific day.
All in all, I found myself in love with this podcast. It’s my first and only podcast I’ve ever listened to so far- and this may have just opened me to a new world of media! I look forward to hopefully coming across more podcasts like Serial in the future.
Asia McClain. N.d. AsiaMcClain.com. Web. 21 July 2017.
Family of Hae Min Lee. N.d. Dailymail.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.
Koenig, Sarah. “Season one: episode 01 The Alibi”. Audio blog post. Serial.
Kumfor, Fiona, and Sicong Tu. “How Our Brains Forget Information to Make Room for New Memories.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 07 June 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.
Roberts, Amy. “The ‘Serial’ Podcast: By the Numbers.” CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 21 July 2017.
Sarah Koenig. N.d. Barclay Agency. Web. 21 July 2017.
Serial podcast. N.d. Independent.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.
TheBookAddictedGirl. “Are Books Better than Films?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 21 July 2017.