In this book, Lindsey A. Sherrill explores the exponential growth of true crime podcasting, including the role of the ubiquitous Serial podcast in the growth of the industry. Using both demographic population analysis and interviews with podcast hosts and producers, Sherill demonstrates that true crime podcasts exist as hybrid organizations, with diverse goals ranging from entertainment to criminal justice reform advocacy to journalistic inquiry. These competing motivations of podcast producers are explored, along with the ethical quandaries that emerge in the process of telling true crime stories. Sherrill traces true crime podcasting back to the infancy of the medium and examines the influences, innovations, and events that created the true crime podcast ecosystem, as well as its influence on real cases in the United States. Scholars of communication, sociology, and media studies will find this book of particular interest.
Lindsey A. Sherrill is assistant professor of business communication at the University of North Alabama.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Adnan, Melinda, and Me
Chapter 2: True Crime, Podcasting, and the Serial Effect
Chapter 3: Understanding Organizational Growth and Social Movements
Chapter 4: Understanding the True Crime Podcast Ecosystem
Chapter 5: Ecology and Podcasts as Maintenance Organizations
Chapter 6: True Crime Podcasts and Social Movement Approaches
Chapter 7: Podcasts as Legitimated Hybrid Organizations
Chapter 8: Still Obsessed: Lessons from the True Crime Podcast Ecosystem
Appendix: True Crime Podcasts 2005-2022
About the Author
“In this volume, Dr. Sherrill artfully retells the history of podcasts as a form of entertainment, media and journalism. In doing so, this book captures an important moment in media history and simultaneously builds organizational theory to help explain how podcasts came to be so influential in today’s media landscape.”
Sherrill presents her research into "goal oriented" true- crime podcasts as organization models. She employs two lenses: organizational ecology and social movement theory. Sherrill collected data by interviewing a dozen authors and hosts of true-crime podcasts, including Rabia Chaudry of Undisclosed and Steven Pacheco of Trace Evidence…. This book is best suited for researchers looking at motivation, evolutionary patterns, or legitimizing strategies within podcasts. Though it is not necessarily geared toward students of the genre, this volume may nevertheless inform those thinking about entering the true-crime podcasting universe themselves. Recommended. Graduate students and faculty.
"An illuminating analysis of the flourishing true crime podcast genre – the author’s infectious enthusiasm is tempered by careful ethical considerations."