The hosts say they are/were journalism majors at UT. Cool. I dislike the podcasts that are hosted by people who simply (re)tell a story using ideas, claims, and discussion points that they found through basic Google searches. Being that these hosts are journalism majors, they at least know how to conduct original research beyond easily discoverable material on the web. So that’s a plus.
Now, here’s why I give it a 3/5: The plot line of the narrative is succinct, well planned and executed, and the hosts seem to have a good understanding of their audience’s memory skills. In other words, the hosts will reiterate small identifying details related to the people in the story (ex. “Business major Colton; DJ Michael, etc.) to help the audience recall whose who across the episodes. HOWEVER, I knocked off 2 stars b/c the hosts interject their own personal experiences into the episodes. For ex. Jennifer attended UT, so did the hosts. Jennifer was struggling to find her identity at age 20, the hosts say they were too. It’s little interjections like that, in my opinion, shouldn’t happen. I understand the purpose is to bolster the hosts ethos. That is, to show the audience the hosts know what they’re talking about, know what they’re doing. It’s also, I think, intended to be used as pathos: that is, to encourage the audience to connect w/ both hosts & narrative; the hosts, at one point, even say “this could happen to us, to anyone.” While all this is true and I don’t refute any of it, I suppose it just personal preference for the hosts of a true crime podcast to not do that. And tbh, for me, it severely reduces the hosts ethos as journalism 101 teaches you to never insert yourself in the story you’re reporting on.