The Non-Fictional Show That is Making Podcast a Very Popular Medium

We all watch movies and old films, and read picture books and novels. But there is also another medium and I am not sure if you are familiar with it, which uses only sound. If you are wondering, it isn’t the radio, since that broadcasts live news and not downloadable audios. The new medium I am talking about is podcast.

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There isn’t a simple definition for what is a podcast. With all the research I did, every website says a slightly different thing than the other. But they all had one thing in common:

iPod + Broadcast = Podcast

This ‘equation’ doesn’t state that Podcast can only be played with an iPod. A podcast can be accessed by any MP3 device. In fact, the word ‘pod-‘ involves any digital media player, including the iPod. As for ‘-cast,’ it relates to radio broadcast, which is the process of transmitting a program that has only audio. A bit confusing, right? Podcast is being able to access downloadable audios that can be played by a MP3 device (“How to Define Investigative Journalism?”). I think I summed it all up pretty well, 😄.

If you want to know my opinion, I like listening to podcast. Of course only the ones with an interesting topic. It’s because I am the kind of person who likes to multi-task; I have to be listening to something while doing something with my hands. I can’t do one thing while not doing the other. I get bored. For example, while watching a movie, I am not looking at the screen half of the time because I’m too busy concentrating at what my hands are doing. But at the same time, I’m listening to everything that is happening in the movie. So podcast covers all that I need because I’m not missing out on anything with its non-exisiting pictures, and at the same time, I can freely do anything with my hands. It’s a dream come true, 😁.

If you are wondering how I read a book while fidgeting, let me say this: I don’t read a book unless it is good, and so I don’t need to be doing something with my hands because I am too busy concentrating on the story, 📖. But in general, I like listening more than reading. For one long piece of text, let’s look at the pros and cons of reading it versus listening to it:Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 10.05.14 AM.png

The only thing that can be slightly inaccurate is if you are the kind of person who can read while listening to something, such as music. And with that, you can multi-task while reading, which is a pro for sure, 🎼.

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A good conclusion is that listening to podcast benefit you in more ways than just reading a book, 🎧.

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Yesterday, I stumbled upon an interesting website. It isn’t a blog website. It actually is a podcasting website. It is of a show called ‘Serial‘. This show is the sole reason that I am very intrigued by podcast; I can’t get enough of it. The show is produced and narrated by Sarah Koenig, an ex-newspaper reporter who covered politics and criminal justice (“About Serial”). The non-fictional show is made up of two seasons, each discussing and investigating a different cold case; each season has almost 12 50-minute episodes (It is so good that the 50 minutes feel like 50 seconds).

The first season investigates the murder of Hae Min Lee. The case revolves around Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, being the sole suspect for her murder. However, because there is a lack of evidence to support his guilt, Sarah investigates if he truly did murder his ex-girlfriend (“Season 01: Episode 01”). I listened to the first episode, and here is a summary plot I got off the website:

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Investigative journalism investigates a story in-depth

I would also like to include that for the show, Sarah becomes an investigative journalist. Investigative journalism lets reporters investigate in-depth a single story, which may uncover any form of corruption (“How to Define Investigative Journalism?”). I like that I am listening to this kind of journalism in the form of podcast. It’s because I am hearing only what is there, which is mostly facts. I can’t be fooled by any words or pictures. I can only concentrate on what is being said and how it is being said, which makes the show very interesting and the idea of podcasting very appealing for future purposes. And only with that, I feel like I am a detective trying to uncover the story, or in this case, an investigative journalist.

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Sarah starts the first episode talking about how unreliable our memories can be. In order for her to investigate in-depth, she needs to know everything that happened on the day of the murder. She asks a bunch of witnesses yet most of them say they don’t remember or their stories don’t add up. It makes her job a little bit harder, but it can still be done. There is something very ironic in her discussion of the challenges of remembering. It is true a person can’t remember everything, like I have no clue what I was doing three days ago at 6:10pm. The only days and events I will ever remember are the ones that impacted me in some way, such as either by having so much fun at the amusement park or being devastated by the death of a grandparent. So, the ironic question is: if people struggle to remember what they did a week ago, how do people keep track of what is going in the show? Every episode is 50 minutes long and when it was still on-air, one episode was uploaded every week. So that means, the listeners needed to remember what happened in a 50 minute episode from the week before so they would know what Sarah was going to talk about in the next episode. Luckily, she talks briefly at the start of every episode about what happened in the previous one. It’s helpful. But after a few episodes pass, the summaries become even more brief and general because she can’t explain what happened as much detail in all of the previous episodes since it will make the future episodes longer.

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As I was listening to the episode, something stood out to me: how do the affected families feel with the increasing popularity of the show and of their emotional stories?

Let’s start all the way at the top:

After the disappearance of Hae Min Lee, her family and Adnan’s were the most affected. Adnan’s family was very surprised that their Muslim son, Adnan (below left picture), was arrested for first-degree murder. They thought it was impossible that he would do such a horrific act since he was a smart, kind, honour student. After his arrest, it can be assumed that they all grieved and raged, but eventually came to terms with the consequences. As for Hae’s family, they lost their only daughter (below middle picture). Supposedly, her secret ex-boyfriend killed her. It must devastating that they lost her, and more devastating because she was killed by the ex-boyfriend that they never knew about. Of course, they also grieved, raged, and came to terms with the consequences since it has almost been two decades since the incident (“Season 01: Episode 01”).

There are three ways the families can feel with the increasing popularity of the show: devastated, hopeful, or both. I think when Adnan’s family first heard of the show, they were sad because they remembered all the horrific things that happened on that day, especially the arrest of their son. At the same time, I think they are hopeful because, since there are obvious irregularities in his case, then there is a possible reason that he can be released from the prison where he spent almost half of his life (above right picture). Hae’s family were devastated. They were devastated because they also had to recall losing their only daughter and because the actual murderer might still be out there where he is not getting what he deserves.

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Serial is a very great podcast show. It is making podcasting a very popular medium because of its interesting story. Hopefully, podcasting becomes even more popular for other reasons other than this show.

If you want to know how it feels to be an investigative journalist or a detective, listen to the show. If you want to know what actually happened to the case, listen to the show. If you like mystery genre, listen to the show. It will surprise you and intrigue you very much that you might finish the show all in one day; I did.

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Works Cited

“About Serial.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/about&gt;

“How to Define Investigative Journalism?” Investigative Journalism Manual. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017. <http://www.investigative-manual.org/en/chapters/who-is-that-investigative-journalist/1-how-to-define-investigative-journalism/&gt;.

“Murder of Hae Min Lee.” Wikipedia. N.p., 13 July 2017. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Hae_Min_Lee&gt;.

“Reading a Book Vs. Listening to an Audiobook.” Reddit. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/32v7cv/reading_a_book_vs_listening_to_an_audiobook/&gt;.

“Season 01: Episode 01.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/season-one&gt;.

“What is a Podcast.” International Podcast Day. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2017. <https://internationalpodcastday.com/what-is-podcast/&gt;.

 

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