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Serial Podcast cover

 

 

I found this episode of Serial to be very interesting, and I enjoyed listening to it. The major reason why I really enjoyed it was because it has a sense of mystery, and it is like a two-sided argument. There are points in the episode that would lead listeners to think that Syed must’ve been innocent, but then new ideas are introduced that may question this, and it goes back and forth on this basis of innocent or guilty. Another aspect as to why I liked this podcast would be because it is based off an actual case, and and none of it was made up for entertainment purposes. Yes, listening to a fictional story may interest me, but this being completely true brings my interest level up. Personally, I would rather listen to a podcast like this than simply read it out because listening to it allows the voices of the people involved with the case to be heard (eg. Adnan), and this allows for listeners to develop a deeper connection to the content. One thing I found frustrating about the podcast was that if I missed a tiny idea, I would have to click the rewind button which took me back about a minute. If I was simply reading, I would be going at my own pace, and therefore I wouldn’t miss an idea and if I somehow did I can always look back to exactly where I want. But, with a podcast, it is easier for the listener to hear and see the emotion in the speaker’s voice whereas when reading a text, it may be difficult for the reader to pick up on the emotion by simply looking at the words. Another positive feature of a podcast is that it allows the listener to do something else while listening to it. For example, someone driving home from work could be listening to the podcast at the same time. However, they can’t, or at least shouldn’t, be reading while driving. I found this episode of Serial to be very interesting, and I enjoyed listening to it. The major reason why I really enjoyed it was because it has a sense of mystery, and it is like a two-sided argument. There are points in the episode that would lead listeners to think that Syed must’ve been innocent, but then new ideas are introduced that may question this, and it goes back and forth on this basis of innocent or guilty. Another aspect as to why I liked this podcast would be because it is based off an actual case, and and none of it was made up for entertainment purposes. Yes, listening to a fictional story may interest me, but this being completely true brings my interest level up. Personally, I would rather listen to a podcast like this than simply read it out because listening to it allows the voices of the people involved with the case to be heard (eg. Adnan), and this allows for listeners to develop a deeper connection to the content. One thing I found frustrating about the podcast was that if I missed a tiny idea, I would have to click the rewind button which took me back about a minute. If I was simply reading, I would be going at my own pace, and therefore I wouldn’t miss an idea and if I somehow did I can always look back to exactly where I want. But, with a podcast, it is easier for the listener to hear and see the emotion in the speaker’s voice whereas when reading a text, it may be difficult for the reader to pick up on the emotion by simply looking at the words. Another positive feature of a podcast is that it allows the listener to do something else while listening to it. For example, someone driving home from work could be listening to the podcast at the same time. However, they can’t, or at least shouldn’t, be reading while driving.

 

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Adnan Syed as a teenager

 

Memory plays a huge role in the entire case of Adnan. In fact, the prosecution’s only evidence was Jay’s testimony, and the details for this testimony was supposedly solely based off Jay’s memory (which is very questionable). Koenig makes a very serious point as to how it is hard for people to remember a specific day, and time from weeks, or even days ago. Adnan had the exact problem, as he was not able to remember exact details of what he was doing, or where he was during the time that the prosecution claimed that Lee was killed. Koenig also explains that when something special or abnormal happens on a day, it is much easier to remember. The murder of Hae Min Lee took place on January 13, 1999, but Adnan was standing in front of the judge almost 2 months later, on March 1, 1999. I can barely remember what I was doing last Friday, so how is this guy supposed to testify as to exactly what he was doing, when, and where for a date that was two months ago? Rabia backs this point up by saying, “All the days are the same to me, you know”(Koenig 2014)? I have to agree with this, as I feel like all days feel somewhat repetitive, and therefore they really can’t be distinguished from each other. What I found surprising was that Jay, at some points in his testimony, appeared to have a very clear idea of exactly what was going on during that day. This may reveal a number of things. It could mean that Jay has a really clear memory because the day of the murder was abnormal to him. Another possibility could be that he is framing Adnan, and making up a fabricated story as to what happened that day. What I find very suspicious is that the details of Jay’s story kept changing, and could this indicate that the story is made up, or could it be because he does not exactly remember what happened on that day? There are just so many unanswered questions and doubts raised in this case, and I just cannot believe that Adnan was found guilty. This verdict was decided by a jury, but I believe that if it was a judge’s final verdict, then Syed would not have been found guilty with the evidence provided (McDonell-Parry 2016). Was he really proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? No, as I mentioned before, Jay’s story kept changing (which raises suspicion), and that was the only real evidence that they had against Adnan. In this case, rather than the defendant being innocent until proven guilty, it seems more like Syed was guilty until proven innocent, which is a major judicial flaw.

 

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Hae Min Lee as a teenager

 

Something that I wonder about is how does Lee’s family feel because of this podcast becoming so popular? I don’t think that Lee’s family is very amused or entertained from this podcast. This incident happened about 15 years from when the podcast was released, and I don’t think they want to be reminded of their daughter’s murder. What makes it worse is that this murder was done with pure knowledge and hatred towards Lee, and it was not an accidental or natural death. The family does not want this death to become a roadblock to the rest of their lives, but reminding them of it will create this problem for them. According to a poll from the Baltimore Sun, 60.23% of the 4,051 people who took part believe that Syed is innocent (The Baltimore Sun 2016). Also, 17.6% said they were unsure, meaning that only 22.17% of the poll takers believed that Syed was guilty. This case would be just like any other murder case if this podcast was not created, unheard of. Nobody would look back on the details of the case, but due to this podcast, people are, and they are being convinced that Adnan Syed is an innocent man who has wrongly been convicted. In 1999, Syed was sentenced to life in prison, and Lee’s family did believe that Syed was the one who had killed their daughter (Izadi 2016). Putting the man who had taken away their daughter’s life would have been the only form of relief for the family, but now that relief is being taken back. The podcast does not directly say whether Syed is innocent or not, but in my opinion is sways towards persuading listeners that he is innocent (due to the rebutting against the prosecution’s evidence). People are looking to have a retrial for Syed, and if he is acquitted of his charges, then what will the family be left with (Macatee 2016)? A dead daughter. I am not saying that Syed should stay in jail just so Lee’s family knows that someone is suffering for the murder, but if I were in their shoes, this is how I would feel. Another indication that the family must not be happy about this podcast is that nobody from their family was spoken to in the podcast as the main point has gone beyond the death of Lee, to the innocence of Syed. There were a lot of people that Koenig talked to, including some random librarian, but they could not get someone to represent Lee’s stand in the entire situation? Koenig seems like a very good investigator, and I believe that she must have at least thought of getting in contact with Lee’s family, but maybe they outright denied the request, or maybe Koenig did not want to resurrect any unwanted thoughts for them.

 

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Recent picture of Adnan Syed in prison.

 

Sarah Koenig is searching for the truth of what had happened on the day of the murder, and this takes a thorough and in-depth analysis of the case. All in all, I believe that this investigative podcast is a great idea, and I would highly recommend to people that are interested in mystery and crime.

Works Cited:

Macatee, Rebecca. “If Serial’s Adnan Syed Didn’t Murder Hae Min Lee, Then Who Did?” E! News. E! News, 01 July 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed Seeks Prison Release While Awaiting Trial.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 29 Dec. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Adnan Syed: innocent or guilty? [Poll].” Baltimoresun.com. N.p., 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Izadi, Elahe. “Adnan Syed granted new trial in ‘Serial’ case after spending 16 years in prison.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 01 July 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah and Julie Snyder. “The Alibi.” Serial, season 1, episode 1, WBEZ, 3 Oct. 2013, serialpodcast.org/season-one/1/the-alibi. 21 July 2017.

 

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