It’s common knowledge around here that I am The Everygirl’s resident murder-obsessed editor. I love anything scary and anything related to true crime, and my life consists of going from reading a murder mystery to listening to a true crime podcast to watching the latest serial killer documentary. Am I crazy? Well, maybe.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my 10 favorite true-crime podcast episodes — and boy oh boy, was there a response to what I thought was a non-controversial list. The main takeaway? A lot of people were livid that what many consider to be the true-crime podcast king wasn’t included: My Favorite Murder.
Full disclosure: I’m not in the business of bashing successful, accomplished women; and I’m not here to tell you why you shouldn’t like them — I’m just explaining why I personally don’t. Do I appreciate that two fellow women started My Favorite Murder and arguably began what is now the true-crime podcast craze? Absolutely, and I think they are both incredibly talented people. But it’s never been my cup of tea, and I felt the need to explain why. My list didn’t include any episodes from My Favorite Murder on purpose because I enjoy the podcast less than I enjoy others. But don’t light your torches and head to The Everygirl office just yet — this is all fully my personal opinion.
From the start, I found it difficult to get into My Favorite Murder; I always found myself zoning out and starting an episode of a similar one but wanted to give it a chance because I knew about its cult following. I think that Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff are very witty and funny people, but when I want to listen to a true-crime podcast, that’s not what I’m generally in it for. I appreciate that they use humor to support an otherwise horribly depressing topic, but I always found their use of it more distracting than entertaining to me.
The hosts have also come under a bit of fire for failing to hold themselves to every detail of every case, or as Rolling Stone put it, “While they do research their murders in advance, they refuse to feel beholden to every fact, exact date, or pronunciation.” I don’t believe any true-crime podcast episode could possibly be perfect — when you’re speaking about a case for 60+ minutes, of course, there will be statements made that are less accurate than they should be; but Hardstark and Kilgariff have seemed to frame any inaccuracies without too much apology.
I’ve also felt less compelled to listen to many of the topics they choose to cover — not because they’re bad choices, but because they aren’t what I personally prefer to listen to. Their hometown minisodes have been very hit or miss to me, and they consist of many of their episodes. Also, as nit-picky as this is, their episode titles next to the other true-crime podcast titles that are next to each other in my library always look much less appealing.
When it comes to podcasts, you have to absolutely love the hosts’ banter and personalities to fully invest yourself in listening; there are no other mediums to entertain you, only their voices and what they choose to say. Am I happy that other people automatically click with them and feel fully entertained by them? Definitely. Am I staying in my lane by not loving them myself? Absolutely.
My education is in journalism; I received my Bachelor’s degree in Editorial Journalism last year. I deeply appreciate other journalists and the work they put into their research and reporting. When I listen to a podcast, my journalistic curiosity makes me want all of the details, and accuracy is important to me — I spent four years knowing that if I made factual mistakes in my writing, I’d need to clarify it in a retraction. When I listen to podcasts by fellow journalists, I appreciate the way in which I can tell they went about their in-depth reporting, and covered it factually and without bias. The investigative journalism process is interesting and very respected to me, so I’m naturally drawn to that kind of in-depth story telling; I very much prefer reporting to story telling.
If you’re a My Favorite Murder lover, by all means, keep listening to every episode and being a Murderino. But if you’re not, these are similar podcasts that I suggest — all by journalists.
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig, who is a journalist. The podcast has all the makings of good, solid true crime reporting and tells one story over the course of an entire season. Season one seems gets the most love (I personally also found season two incredibly interesting); but as the winner of the first ever Peabody award for a podcast, I believe that all of them are worth checking out.
2. The Clearing
The Clearing is also in a one-story-told-over-the-course-of-a-full-season format, and it’s one of the most insane and bizarre stories I have ever heard. It’s another show hosted by a seasoned journalist, and it tells the story of serial killer Edward Edwards, with the help of — get this — his own daughter, who figured out he was a murderer when she was in her 40s.
Hosted by Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss, this podcast follows the disappearance and death of actress Adea Shabani, who was last seen alive leaving her Hollywood apartment. This show is perfect for a long road trip, or to break up to entertain you for a week’s worth of long commutes — it’ll have you in its grasp throughout the entirety of the series.