Koenig’s ‘Serial’ Strikes Syed’s Case Skillfully

Sarah Koenig’s ‘Serial’ has taken the world of podcasts by storm.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to and analyzing Sarah Koenig’s podcast, ‘Serial.’ I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful recording of her investigation of Adnan Syed’s alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. It weaves a tale that you cannot help but be sucked into. At times I was convinced that Syed was innocent, and at others I believed he was the stone-cold killer that the media painted him to be. It was almost too easy to empathize with a person who is behind bars for the killing of a young girl, but that is what I liked about the podcast. You get to play the devil’s advocate in your head while following on, and you have the ability choose a truth to believe in.

adnan syed
Adnan Syed at the courthouse after a day of hearings for retrial.

This being said, I think Lee’s family has some negative feelings about the podcast’s popularity.  They say that “‘it remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed (our) family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae. (Fenton, The Baltimore Sun)” While Koenig looks at two possibilities as to what happened to their relative, the Lees feel uncomfortable – and even angry – that this whole investigation is being brought to light again through ‘Serial.’ They are thoroughly convinced that Adnan is to blame for the 19 year-old’s death.

hae min lee
Hae Min Lee (1980-1999), allegedly murdered by Syed.

Even though these are the sentiments of the family, it is understandable that Adnan has so many supporters. Fans who claim that they “just want him to get a new trial. (AFP, The Express Tribune)” have grown attached to the idea of his innocence. ‘Serial,’ the medium where so many have been made familiar with the case, does not hold a bias against him (if anything, for him) and transforms the case into something reachable. The audience doesn’t need to endure any stuffy police statements or government-endorsed beliefs. Instead, they listen to Koenig – an average woman who is simply fascinated with the murder – among other potential witnesses and even Syed himself. This, to me, gives way for the development of empathy for the alleged killer due to the of the lack of formalities and familiarity.

Hey, I get it. The podcast allows investigative journalism to have a new life – it gets its audience to care more through its convenient medium. People, especially millennials, are addicted as “a solid 38% (…) listen to podcasts according to Edison Research. (Podcast Motor)”  I know that for myself, there is no trial for ‘Serial’ podcast. It completely ensnares the imagination and will keep me hooked for many more episodes to come.

Works Cited

Fenton, Justin. “Hae Min Lee’s Family Says Syed Hearings Have ‘reopened Wounds Few Can Imagine’.” Baltimoresun.com. N.p., 07 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

AFP. “‘Serial’ Hero Adnan Syed Gets Second Chance in US Court.” The Express Tribune. N.p., 10 June 2017. Web. 21 July 2017.

“4 Ways Millennials Are Changing the Way We Consume Audio.” Podcast Motor. N.p., 29 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.


How Taking English Throughout High School Is Absolutely Worthwhile (Yes, Even As a Future Accountant!)

english class books

Some may see taking English in their senior year before going to university for sciences, or any other STEM program for that matter, as useless as taking calculus when planning on being a history major. But I believe that it may be more applicable to anyone’s future career – and life overall – than one may think.

In general, no matter what job someone might be considering for the future, all of them have one thing in common: the employee must be able to communicate with other people. More specifically, they need to know how to ace their interview. I personally wouldn’t want to hire anyone who wrote, “What are you’re expectations of me, as an employee, on a day-to-day basis?” It sticks out like a sore thumb, reads unprofessionally, and it gives the appearance that the person applying is a lot less intelligent than they actually are. “(Typos) are a major faux pas, and a mistake that might have your resume in the trash before it makes its way to the second round. (L. Higgins, HerCampus)”

job interview
Adam DeMamp from Workaholics, expressing my sentiments about poor grammar skills in the workplace.

In addition, almost all professionals are required to read and write for a significant portion of the workday. Even if they teach grade ten academic math, they will be sending emails as well as giving feedback on students’ report cards. If they are a biologist, they have to write proper lab reports and even publish their own research findings. Point being, nearly every job one can imagine has an aspect of what they learned in English class to it. As said by Darla Himeles on the Classroom website, “Learning to express yourself concisely, accurately and convincingly is not simply a box to check on an assessment test or a grading rubric; if you hope to write emails that earn respect, to enter any career in which communication is essential or simply to speak with authority, learning to write well is important.”

Finally, how impressive would the ability to quote Baudelaire and astound friends at dinner parties be? Wouldn’t the love of one’s life swoon if the other’s heart was poured out into a card on Valentine’s Day (with the correct uses of “your” and “you’re,” of course), or if they wrote them a beautiful poem complete with alliteration and metaphors “just because?” Yeah, that.

Aria Montgomery and Ezra Fitz from Pretty Little Liars (both of them are English majors, by the way).

Overall, I may be a bit biased because I have always been an “artsy” kid and loved this subject, but I truly believe that these reasons why English class is important justify my opinion – and hopefully sway or consolidate others’!

To read about the sub-categories of English class in high school, click here.