You’re listening to Serial, right?

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Serial from This American Life

Serial from This American Life

You’ve heard it, right? The podcast that’s topped iTunes, inspired it’s own Subreddit and has a world of amateur sleuths following its trail? Serial, the podcast from the producers of This American Life is a true crime story and it’s got a lot of people hooked. Press Play’s Madeleine Brand recently talked to Katy Waldman, a staff writer for Slate and one of the commentators on Serial Spoiler Special, Slate’s own podcast about the Serial podcast (it’s so meta, right?). Waldman says that Serial does raise some issues. It’s a true story, but “we’re treating it as thought it’s a narrative written by a master writer.”

This raises ethical issues — what is the point of treating all these real people as characters? “I think you even see it when people are wondering about the ending as if there’s authorial intent,” says Waldman, acknowledging that there are real facts at play here, not just clever writing.

Meanwhile, discussion groups have formed in Facebook and Twitter feeds around the web. Unsurprisingly, Reddit has its own community of Serial fans who are mulling over the particulars of the case. It’s a well-moderated discussion board, says Waldman, but “it can be pretty overwhelming.”  The Redditors are at least a few episodes ahead of the actual podcast in terms of what they know, she says.

There’s also this map, made by the moderator of the Subreddit, which tracks all the places mentioned in Serial (h/t Kaitlin Parker), if you happen to be in Baltimore and have some free time…