‘Serial’ Sucked and Wasted Everyone’s Time

Diana Moskovitz, The Concourse:

I know what it feels like to run out of reporting, because I have run out of reporting. It happens to crime reporters all the time. Your boss tells you they've saved a 15-inch hole on 1B for the story, but you've only maybe six inches of copy. The witnesses aren't talking (this happens to Koenig). The cops aren't talking (this happens to Koenig). The victim's family won't speak (this happens to Koenig). Here's the backwards relationship of all crime stories: The minute it happens is when most people want to know everything, but it's also when you know the least about what happened. So you plug. You describe the people crying, the blood splatter, the evidence strewn across the ground, the sounds of the tears, the tagging of the bullet shells, the sheet strewn across the body, how wide an area the cops taped off, even the weather. You talk about what you don't know: the questions the cops won't answer, the stoic silence of the family, the open-ended questions that naturally exist in these situations. The fancy term for this is "reporting with your eyes." Sometimes, these details do come in handy later. Other times, you look back on the story and go, "Yeah, I just had to fill."

I don’t quite agree with Moskovitz; podcasting as a medium got a big bump from Serial. But other than that, I couldn’t agree with her more.