CJR Features ICFJ President’s Op-Ed on “Serial” Podcast

Dec 22014

The Columbia Journalism Review featured a column written by ICFJ’s president, Joyce Barnathan, in which she commends the hit podcast "Serial" for making “journalism more transparent” and adding “tremendous credibility to our field.”

"Serial" chronicles reporter Sarah Koenig’s investigation of the 1999 murder of a high school student in Baltimore. It has been downloaded or streamed more than 5 million times and averages over 1.5 million listeners per episode. Its popularity has highlighted the issue of transparency in journalism.

In the podcast, Koenig publicly struggles with her thoughts on the innocence or guilt of a promising high school student who was charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend. This is what Barnathan says sets the series apart.

“What Koenig does that we don’t normally do is share our thoughts and views as we research a story,” Barnathan says. “Normally we do all that work before publishing...The difference is, we never make that work public.”

Barnathan also ties "Serial" to the Trust Project, a new effort to “let readers know what goes on behind the scenes as a way of distinguishing great journalism from the tsunami of editorial detritus that claims to be high-quality.”

For more on why "Serial" is important to journalism, read the full CJR article here.

Homepage slideshow image: CC-licensed, thanks to Patrick Breitenbach on Flickr.