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Dissecting Adnan Syed's Case in Serial Podcast

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Before listening to the first episode of the Serial podcast, I was incredibly skeptical and judgmental. As a visual learner, I have never been fond of audiobooks of any sort. When watching a movie, I prefer to put the subtitles on to supplement my understanding. In French class, I constantly performed poorly on listening tests. However, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this podcast. Despite its serious nature, it was engaging, stimulating, and incredibly intriguing. I found myself forgetting that this was part of an English assignment and became pulled into the story. It held my interest and kept me waiting with anticipation. I liked that this podcast incorporated the voices of several individuals who were closely connected to this case. Listening to Adnan speak, left me with a fascinating internal struggle. I felt sympathy for him, but at the same time, confusion and uncertainty. As well, I greatly appreciated Sarah Koenig’s incorporation of Rabia, a friend of Adnan’s. I could hear the distress and desperation in her voice as she fed Koenig information. It was clear that she wanted the case solved in Adnan’s favour with all her heart. The podcast helped me feel like I was sitting in a room talking to all the people involved in the conversation. It felt like I was part of the story. Moreover, I greatly enjoyed the incorporation of music and found that it held my attention. I will likely continuing listening to the podcasts in my spare time in order to find out the truth. 

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I have mixed feelings about presenting investigative journalism in this format. On the one hand, I feel that the podcast held my attention a lot better than it would have if I were reading it. The incorporation of different voices and music added to the drama and mystery of the murder case. However, there were some aspects of presenting investigative information in a podcast that I did not like as much. For starters, I found it difficult to remember the facts presented without having it in written writing. I also had to re-listen to parts of the podcast several times to process people’s names and other information. The recording at the start of the podcast was very hard for me to understand. As well, the podcast format allowed bias and emotions of speakers to easily sway the listener’s opinion. This is not an option while reading. Objective, written facts are less likely to succumb to bias in this way. For this reason, I would much rather read a text like this than listen to it. Furthermore, despite the narrator’s best attempts to keep the podcast engaging, I easily zone out when someone is speaking for long periods of time. I constantly had to rewind the recording. I would also prefer a video to a podcast to express this information. Being able to see pieces of evidence and the speakers’ faces would have enhanced the experience. It would have be nice to see Adnan’s face so that I could understand what Koenig meant by Adnan’s “giant brown eyes like a dairy cow”.

Adnan and Hae are both victims of this crime in different ways. Each of their families would have felt a mixture of emotions over Serial becoming such a popular podcast. Adnan’s family likely would feel more content than Hae’s. In his case, the podcast sheds light on an injustice and opens up the possibility for a wrong to be righted if it can prove Adnan’s innocence. For Hae’s family though, the podcast likely acts more as an upsetting reminder of the horrible tragedy their young girl endured. Nothing can mend the gash torn through the hearts of her family members. As well, they likely do not enjoy their daughter’s murder being treated as a form of entertainment. Despite being informative and spreading awareness, alike to a book or movie, a podcast can be considered a form of entertainment.

Sarah Koenig was absolutely correct when she described the challenges of memory. The chances of me being able to recall events from a random day a couple months ago is slim to none. If someone were to ask me what I was doing six weeks ago at a particular time, I would likely respond with incredibly general statements such as, “I was probably at school”. This is precisely what Koenig said. This concept raises many concerns throughout the podcast. For example, how could Jay possibly remember everything that he and Adnan said and did in such precise detail? Even though Asia said she remembered January 13th because she and Derek were snowed in, how probable is it that she specifically recalled speaking to Adnan in the library at a certain time? Given that it is likely that none of the teenager’s stories are entirely accurate, uncovering the truth becomes infinitely more difficult.

I personally like to believe that Adnan is innocent. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that his guilt or innocence will ever be definitely proven. Nearly two decades have passed since the crime, and evidence appears to be very scarce.

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