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Podcasting pp 107–122Cite as

Palgrave Macmillan

Invisible Evidence: Serial and the New Unknowability of Documentary

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Abstract

Ora uses the first season of Sarah Koenig’s Serial to launch comparisons between 1990s documentary film theory and contemporary claims of ‘post-truth‘ in new media. The politics of testimony and memory, visual proof and its credulity, and, ultimately, the role of narrative voice within online culture contribute to decoding the text and reception of this wildly successful podcast. Ora demonstrates that, just as theorists including Linda Williams heralded the end of the ironclad image with Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line, scholars may similarly position Serial as a case study for seismic shifts in non-fiction media and its reception.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    When Saturday Night Live parodied Serial, it chose not to take on the case of Adnan Syed and the subject matter of the series, but rather Koenig’s style and tone, as its comedic fodder. Even as interest in the case at hand was certainly at the forefront of audience interest and reception of the series, Koenig’s persona, her profound introductions and interactions with ‘facts’ and opinions, were the emblems of this podcast that would read most clearly to an audience . The resulting sketch, a giggle-worthy Christmas mystery (‘I interviewed Chris, a thousand-year-old toymaker who lives up north…’), mimics Koenig’s approach without any mention of Adnan’s case. Whether we were aware or not, Koenig was the main character in this series.

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Ora, R. (2018). Invisible Evidence: Serial and the New Unknowability of Documentary. In: Llinares, D., Fox, N., Berry, R. (eds) Podcasting. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90056-8_6

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