Serial Didn’t Free Adnan Syed

Not reckoning with your own oversights is a failure of journalism.


Episode Notes

In 2015, Serial launched the case against Adnan Syed for the murder of Hae Min Lee in to the national conversation, but over the years the mistakes that show made continued to add up. Adnan Syed’s release from prison earlier this week would have been a great chance for the Serial team to admit its wrongs, but that did not happen.

On today’s episode, Rachelle is joined by Daisy Rosario to talk about the impact Serial had on the culture, and the case itself. They speak with Rebecca Lavoie, a writer and host of Crime Writers On… , about what’s missing from the podcast, the New York Times continuing to ignore its journalistic responsibilities, and how Serial is responsible for the current state of true crime culture.

This podcast is produced by Daniel Schroeder, Rachelle Hampton, and Daisy Rosario.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this episode misstated that the phrase, “basically good guys,” was a direct quote from the Serial podcast. It was not and we should not have used the word quote in that instance. We would also like to acknowledge that we did not reach out to the Serial team for comment. This episode has been updated to make fixes relevant to those issues and to better clarify some of our points. We did not mean to imply that Serial had not reported out updates, but rather that we felt that information wasn’t easy to find. We did review the Serial website, transcripts, and show feed, though not as thoroughly as we should have. We regret our errors, and sincerely apologize to the Serial team.


About the Show

Join Rachelle Hampton twice a week as we gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back.

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  • Daisy Rosario is Slate's senior supervising producer of audio. Previously, she produced podcasts and reported stories for Stitcher, WNYC, WAMU, and Latino USA, and was also a frequent contributor to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. You may have heard her on the Moth.

  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr’s demise.