Drowning in an endless sea of podcasts? Join the club. I’ve found that it’s absolutely essential to use your network of friends and coworkers to help curate all the content that’s available in today’s media-rich world.
And when it comes to newsy, true crime podcasts, my tried and true resource is my news junkie friend at work, Holly. She’s the one who told me to listen to “Serial,” which sparked the same interest in podcasts for me as it did for millions of others. Then, she recommended “Stranglers,” which is also excellent.
Most recently, Holly told me about “Accused,” and that’s the podcast I want to share with you this week.
Lauded as the “Serial” of 2016, “Accused” is a project of “The Cincinnati Enquirer,” and is created by journalists Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossmann. Like Sarah Koenig of “Serial,” Hunt and Rossmann approach the case professionally, but not entirely objectively. They have opinions, and often share them with listeners, while striving to be open, honest and fair to all parties involved.
With 191,000 cold cases on the record books in America, what makes this case interesting? Like any good story, it’s about the people. Elizabeth Andes had just graduated college in 1978 when she was brutally murdered. She was smart, loved and about to embark on a future that surely would have held great promise.
Her football-playing boyfriend, Bob Young, was immediately accused and later tried (twice, actually) and acquitted for the murder. The podcast asks, “If not Bob, then who?” and listeners are along for the ride.
Suspects range from acquaintances to serial killers operating in Ohio at that time. One of the best episodes focuses on the suspects who were strangers to Andes — delving into the prevalence of serial murder during the ’70s and the possible causes for the high levels of violent crime during that decade. This is a fascinating topic, and one that could be expanded into a podcast in its own right.
In addition to offering a great story, Hunt and Rossmann’s work on “Accused” poses some interesting questions about journalistic ethics and criminal justice. By investigating an unsolved murder, they walk the line between private detectives and reporters. Sometimes it’s not safe or easy — there are some genuine moments of tension with potential suspects and law enforcement officers who still insist that Young got away with murder.
You’ll walk away from “Accused” with theories about the case but no definite answers, which might feel anti-climactic to some, but for this curious listener, it’s all about the new questions that arise along the way.
Have a true crime recommendation of your own for #TryPod month? Share it here!