Honors College to bring Serial podcast creators to Fogelson Forum


By Sam Bruton

(Image courtesy of serialpodcast.org)

The creators of one of the nation’s most popular podcasts, “Serial,” will be on campus Wednesday to discuss creating “Binge-Worthy Journalism.”

The John V. Roach Honors College is hosting Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder at this year’s Fogelson Forum.

Koenig and Snyder created “Serial” in 2014.  The first season, featuring 12 parts, has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

“Serial” has won many awards including the Peabody and Edward R. Murrow awards.

“There’s always a balance between bringing someone with name-recognition and someone who is an academic expert in their field,” said Lauren Nixon, an organizer of the Fogelson Forum.  “It’s nice when you can do both.”

Koenig, host and executive producer of the podcast, is a journalist, public radio personality and one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2015.  Snyder, the executive producer, has won four Peabody Awards for her work in broadcast.

Season one tells the story of a 1999 murder case and its complicated trial in Baltimore County, Maryland.  Season two explores the return of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl after being a prisoner of the Taliban.

Nixon said with the rebirth of podcasts, the way information is shared is changing.

“I want people to be aware of this new and evolving form of storytelling,” said Nixon. 

When faculty and staff met to discuss speaker ideas, names of many journalists came up.  

“I haven’t gotten to see Sarah and Julie’s presentation yet, but I’ve been told it’s amazing,” said Nixon.

One goal of the Fogelson Forum is to engender open dialogue and conversation.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring somebody thought-provoking and interesting to campus,” said Nixon.

A few of the past speakers include: Ben Stein, Sanjay Gupta, Jeb Bush and Bill Bradley, Amy Tan, Paul Begala and Art Fleischer, Mary Matalin and James Carville.

The Honors College is capable of hosting the Fogelson Forum thanks to an endowment from E.E. Fogelson and his wife, Greer Garson.