‘Serial’ Creator, State College Townie Sarah Koenig To Speak At Penn State
Podcast nerds, prepare yourselves. Sarah Koenig, creator of the popular podcast Serial, is coming to Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.
Serial tells the story of Adnan Syed, a high school student from Baltimore, Md. who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 2000. Lee’s body was found in Baltimore’s Leakin Park after her disappearance on Jan. 13, 1999.
Through the 12 episodes of the podcast, Koenig reinvestigated Lee’s murder and Syed’s trial. To do so, Koenig spoke to Syed for over 30 hours over the phone, reviewed police notes, listened to taped court proceedings, and interviewed former friends of Lee and Syed. The show, which was a spin-off of This American Life, ran from October to December of 2014.
The podcast was a hit, to say the least. It debuted atop the charts on iTunes in October, and quickly became the first podcast to hit five million downloads. Serial was met with critical acclaim as well, with The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson calling the series the “podcast we’ve been waiting for.”
Before Serial, Koenig covered the 2000 Presidential Race for The Concord Monitor. She then became a political reporter at The Baltimore Sun. While living in Russia, she worked as a reporter for ABC News and The New York Times. She joined the staff of This American Life in 2004. In 2006, she won a Peabody Award for producing an episode of the show entitled “Habeas Schmabeas.” To top it all off, Koenig is a State College townie. Her husband is a professor of English and Jewish Studies at Penn State.
On Jan. 27, Koenig will present a lecture and conduct a question and answer session. The event is free to the public, and is coordinated by Penn State’s Department of Journalism.