Picture this: I'm on a plane,delayed several hours, having been stuck in airport limbo waiting for this connecting flight. I'm tired, I overspent on airplane food (having no other options), and I turn to my precious Stitcher app to see what podcast can ease my way for the final hour of my long trip.
I see that "Crime Writers On" is spilling tea about a certain happening at the podcast convention (Podcast Movement) some of the hosts attended, about Payne Lindsey. If you don't know him, he's the creator of "Up and Vanished," where he looked into the case of a Tara Grinstead. SPOILER BELOW:
Possibly due to the attention his podcast drew to the case, an arrest was made.
Anyone would be a little proud of the effect their work had on a real life case, but Lindsay took it to the next level. He aired segments of interviews of people complimenting him on his work, and then had a live show of the podcast that was way too over the top considering the sobering case as its subject. I was disconcerted by this, and wasn't too sure about listening to the next season. Also, the final few episodes were super repetitive.
Well, apparently his arrogance also spread to real life, as described by the team at Crime Writers On. He gave a presentation disparaging other podcasters (!) far more experienced than he, and had models in t-shirts with supposedly disruptive messaging ( I believe he wore a shirt that said I AM NOT A PODCASTER). This also turned into a twitter war between established podcasters and Lindsay's acolytes. Listen to the recap here.
This whole affair shines a light on the fine line between investigation and entertainment. While Serial revolutionized podcasts, Hae Min Lee's family is still grieving intensely and dealing with the publicity. An episode of "Snapped" may be engrossing television, but real people die in the telling. That said, for the most part, the best true crime podcasts have an activist, heartfelt feel, and you don't see people like Bob Ruff and the Undisclosed team parading around like peacocks. They're too busy solving crimes and saving lives to do so.
Funnily enough, a parody podcast that really nails Up and Vanisheds' MO and style, Done Disappeared, is becoming a hit and is a total delight. It pokes gentle fun and even skewered Crime Writers On, much to their delight. John David Booter (also a hilarious name) is investigating the disappearance of Clara Pockets, in 10-minute hysterical snippets that also parody the ads that show up during these podcasts (I particularly love when something horrific is being detailed in a podcast and then it cuts to, with no warning, a jaunty ad for, like, Blue Apron.) Well done, John David, whoever you REALLY are (perhaps a podcaster who attended the Podcast Movement conference?)