‘Serial’ Creators to Visit TCU for Fogelson Honors Forum

April 27, 2016

“Serial” Creators Julie Snyder and Sarah Koenig. Photo by: Elise Bergerson

Serial LogoTCU’s John V. Roach Honors College will welcome the Peabody Award winning creators of the “Serial” podcast, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, for the 2016 Fogelson Honors Forum Oct. 26.

Koenig and Snyder’s presentation, “Binge-Worthy Journalism,” will provide a behind-the-scenes look into how they created the acclaimed podcast, which has been downloaded more than 175 million times, making it the most listened-to podcast in the history of the form.

The 2016 Fogelson Honors Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in TCU’s Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom.

Sarah Koenig Photo by: Meredith Heuer

Sarah Koenig
Photo by: Meredith Heuer

“Serial’s” creators are veterans of the public radio show “This American Life.” Koenig became a producer in 2004. Snyder was hired in 1997 – almost since its inception.

Koenig, host of “Serial,” began her career as a newspaper reporter. She lived in Moscow, Russia for several years, where she worked for The New York Times, and once she returned, went to work for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire and later the Baltimore Sun.

Koenig has guest-hosted several episodes of “This American Life.” She has also produced and reported some of the show’s most popular episodes, including “Switched at Birth,” “Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde” and “Habeas Schmabeas,” a Peabody Award-winning show about Guantanamo Bay.

In 2015 Koenig was named one of Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People.”

Julie Snyder Photo by: Kristen Luce

Before producing “Serial,” Snyder was the senior producer of “This American Life” along with host Ira Glass. Together, they set the editorial agenda for the program, winning four Peabody Awards along the way.  She has produced many of the program’s most entertaining and memorable episodes, including “24 Hours at the Golden Apple,” and “Notes on Camp.”

In 2013, Snyder began talking with Koenig about trying something new: making a show that doesn’t follow the usual format of a different story every week, but instead making a show where they would cover one story over the course of an entire season.

At the time, smart phone technology was making podcasts more accessible for the public and the on-demand nature of podcast listening meant listeners could follow a story in a serialized way, following each chapter of the story as it unfolded week by week.  The format was appealing to both Koenig and Snyder because it meant they could use all the tools of narrative journalism to report an in-depth story that featured twists, turns, tangents and suspense along the way.

After a year of reporting, with Koenig as host/reporter and Snyder as editor, “Serial” became a sensation in 2014. Slate headlined “Serial is Like Nothing I’ve Ever Heard or Watched Before”; Buzzfeed wrote “Serial is the Best New Crime Drama (And It’s Not on TV)”; and The New Yorker declared “Serial” “the podcast we’ve been waiting for.”

The Fogelson Honors Forum was established through a gift from the estates of Buddy Fogelson and his wife Greer Garson. The forum brings renowned speakers, eminent scholars and professionals to campus to address TCU students, staff and faculty as well as the Fort Worth community.

The event is free and open to the public. Information on ticket distribution will be released over the summer. Visit www.honors.tcu.edu or email fogelson@tcu.edu for more information.

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