Serial is a podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig. It focuses on a man named Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. The podcast follows Koenig’s investigation of the case.
In my opinion, the first episode of the Serial podcast was very interesting and intriguing. As a person who has an infatuation with criminal investigations and murder cases, I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast because the topic of the podcast was an intense and exciting murder mystery. I loved hearing how all the facts, details and witnesses came together to try to determine what is real and fake. The particular murder mystery that was analyzed in the podcast piqued my interest because it was a situation that was entirely new to me. Before this podcast, I had never heard of a case in which a man was sentenced to life imprisonment, with no concrete evidence to back up said imprisonment. The reason that Adnan was thrown into prison and convicted for murder was all based on theory and claims. There was no physical evidence to even suggest that Adnan may have killed Hae, and yet, he was thrown in jail anyways. This kind of situation intrigued me because it seemed unfair that the state would do such a thing. I became interested in the podcast because I wanted to find out for myself if Adnan was guilty or innocent, using my own interpretations made from the given evidence and claims. Koenig was a fantastic narrator because she was able to point out key facts and important aspects, which allowed me to make my own interpretations. Some of the aspects that she went through were particularly fascinating. For example, Koenig emphasized the aspect of memory and recollection in criminal investigations. This aspect can be seen specifically when Koenig investigated the perspectives of both Adnan and Jay. Adnan could not recall any details, while Jay could. I found it interesting that Adnan couldn’t recall where he was during the time frame when Hae was killed, because that played a big part in his imprisonment. Jay’s recollection of events also played a big part in Adnan’s imprisonment because the state used these claims against Adnan to prove Adnan guilty. This may be concerning because one cannot rely on a person’s recollection of events as evidence. Each person recalls events differently and they may make up or mix up certain details, which can sabotage the entire investigation. I know that I would have probably mixed up the details on a given day. I certainly wouldn’t have known where I was for a specific time and most people wouldn’t have either. A day can happen so fast and therefore, I believe it was justified as to why Adnan couldn’t recall where he was. However, Adnan was still put in jail for something that he may not have done. This aspect of memory and recollection can also be seen specifically in Koenig’s interview with Asia McClain. Asia’s claims about the events that occurred on the day of the murder had a big impact on the case and yet, it was never brought up. Even after fifteen years, Asia could still recall certain details about the exact time of the crime date and this could have proved Adnan’s innocence. Therefore, it is important to be able to recollect the past in detail in order to prove one’s innocence or guilt in criminal investigations. This kind of investigation was interesting and as a result, I enjoyed the podcast.
Even though I liked the topic and the story of the podcast, I did not like the presentation of investigative journalism in this format. I could not connect with this choice of media and I found it difficult to understand the concepts when I listened to the podcast. I often missed information while I listened to the podcast and sometimes, I couldn’t hear the speakers properly. While I listened to the podcast, I had to go back several times to listen to the podcast again in order to grasp the ideas presented. The podcast was very informative and well-put together, but it was just difficult for me to focus on listening because I am more of a visual learner. Since I am a visual learner, I would prefer reading rather than listening. This is because when I read the text, I have the information right in front of me and I can easily go back to re-read the information. I am able to process the information much faster when I read it. However, when I listen to the text, it is a hassle to go back and forth to obtain the information that I missed. It is also frustrating because I cannot hear what the speakers are saying since my brain does not process the information presented in that kind of format. Some people may enjoy listening rather than reading because it might be convenient when they are occupied by another task and want to multitask. For example, many people like to listen to podcasts while they are driving to work. They cannot read while they drive and so, another option would be to listen to a podcast. However, I wouldn’t ever choose listening over reading because I wouldn’t be able to retain the information anyways. Therefore, I did not like the presentation of the investigation in this format.
Furthermore, although the topic and story of the podcast was interesting, I did not like the lack of concern for the victim’s family. This podcast may have been unethical in some ways because of the problems it may have caused for the family. This is due to the podcast’s rising popularity among a variety of audiences, which also exposes the people who were involved in the case. The victim’s family may not have wanted so much exposure to their child’s case. It may have made them uncomfortable to bring back the murder of their child back into the light because they are reminded of her death, which they may never get over. It may cause more grief and pain, which the audience might not know because they had never been through such a situation. It may also be uncomfortable for the family because the audience may be demanding responses from the family. With the vast popularity of the podcast, there may be many people who are demanding answers from the family and this may lead to an invasion of privacy and invasion of family matters. I think that the family of the victim would feel a lot of grief and sadness due to this popularity of the podcast. After all, it is hard to have the murder story of family member be blasted out to millions of viewers.
In conclusion, the first episode of the Serial podcast was quite interesting and engaging. Although I personally do not enjoy listening to podcasts, the story itself was interesting so it is definitely a podcast that I would recommend. I look forward to listening to more episodes of the Serial podcast series and possibly discovering answers to this fascinating murder mystery.
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