That was not the ending I expected. Though I was not a huge fan of the lengthiness and detail imparted on me while listening to In the Dark season 2, I am sad to see it come to an end. I truly hoped to hear that Curtis Flowers had been freed and justice had been served. I got the most emotional when I learned that his mother had passed away, and was so upset that Doug Evans requested that he not be released for such an occasion. It was so powerful that the reporter did not reveal the gun that was found until this episode, but as someone studying broadcast it feels weird to keep that under wraps for so long (I understand the chronological approach, but I’m used to most important first).
Another very powerful aspect was the man who discovered the gun’s testimony. His voice was stunning in a way that made me listen to his words carefully and notice them and the emotion they held. The trauma he faced after the podcast’s release really put into perspective the climate of Winona. Feeling his pain can be a sort of reminder of the even worse pain that Curtis Flowers has felt over the years. Recording his parents’ trip up to see him, hearing about his cooking ideas and letters after the podcast were an encouraging reminder of his humanity, since he seems so far removed. It makes me want to write him a letter, or do whatever needs to be done for justice to be served (whatever that may look like). This story, along with the “Blood Will Tell” article are frightening and a reminder not only of the flaws in our justice system, but the risk we all face-falling prey to the bad intentions of others. Though it took a while and I lost interest/was a little confused due to zoning out, I am so glad I learned of this story and hope to hear a positive update in the future!
After this long journey I am excited to finally hear how it all ends! The detail is so overwhelming and at times disorienting-I have trouble remembering who is who and how certain people relate to the case-but I can now see how it helps put the full picture and story in perspective. Excellent storytelling on their behalf because putting all of this research and information together is quite an undertaking, in addition to the research and effort already put in. I really loved the effect of having the interview of the man who was so shocked and upset that the authorities seemingly falsified his statements-his honest and raw reaction added so much to the story. In the same way, I loved getting to hear the DA’s voice. He has been villainized throughout the whole story, perhaps rightly so, and it was a weird feeling to finally hear his voice and realize how human he is. I think it was the first Hemphill, who was waiting on his wife to finish cooking dinner, that captured my interest due to the conversational nature of his soundbites and great storytelling by the journalists.
However, I did not like the insertion of the “backseat chronicles” from another Hemphill, I felt it was kind of making fun of him and did not seem to serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things. I also got really tired of hearing Willie James Hemphill’s name, and wished Madeline could have found another way to refer to him. I felt disappointed and odd that Madeline had not thought to look for a police report on the shooting earlier, or had at least not mentioned it when she did think of it. I feel that is such an important piece of evidence that could have sped up the investigative process. However, I did not think of it either. Lastly I felt that the description of John Johnson’s (I think that’s his name) house when he was not there served no other purpose than to perpetuate stereotypes. They could have simply stated that he was not home when they came-not everyone who has a shooting range or seemingly aggressive dogs is a racist.
After my dramatic disdain for the last two episodes, I stand corrected. Episode 6 and 7 were very important and ultimately quite entertaining. Madeline did a good job of incorporating so much interesting raw audio into it that it seemed more like watching a documentary. Besides the entertainment factor, the simple fact that she got the star witness to confess his deceit is extraordinary. I think her talking less in at least the earlier episode helped make it stand out from some of the previous ones, but she did a great job of setting the stage of each set of dialogue.
The analysis of the makeup of the jury was necessary for this investigation, probably more so than many of the other things she has delved into. I personally appreciated the little summary at the end where she listed everything that man had seen during the case/appeals-black jurors dismissed or overlooked (I’m not sure about the proper term), juror arrested and taken out of the courtroom, etc. These episodes really showed that it is not all speculation or reasonable doubt towards Curtis Flowers’ innocence, there is actual evidence of deceit and something must be done about it. Once again the amount of research and effort put into every interview, even obscure ones, is impressive. Also the willingness of those who do not usually submit themselves to interviews but are willing to respond to a Facebook message is fascinating-without that compliance this story would not have been told in such a powerful way.
I am constantly in awe of the thoroughness of this investigation. How does she even remember main details of the case at this point? Honestly she does a good job of presenting the information because I am surprised that I still have a relatively good understanding of the case and people involved.
However, I am annoyed because it is just SO much information-it even made me start considering better ways to present the information, like perhaps an interactive timeline on a website that allowed each individual to go as far into details as they wanted, while focusing on the main events and outcomes. I find that she spends quite a bit of time dissecting people’s characters. This bothers me for one because a large part of crime is the unexpected aspect. Also, how can the testimonies of flawed people, who lie, be evidence against other flawed people, who also lie? I just think the way she presents some of the character testimonies as significant evidence that something did or did not happen can be dangerous in general, but she also has a lot more useful information to rely on. While focusing on going in-depth, little happenings can be romanticized.
All that being said, I still appreciate the story and the fight for justice. I think it is a necessary and valiant effort. I am just pretty sure I would not continue to listen outside of class, even though I want to know the end result. My curiosity does not out-weigh my lack of entertainment at this point. Her way of making each interview and story conversational/live action is stunning, and adds so much to the quality and entertainment value overall.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to episode one of this podcast. I somewhat enjoyed listening to the second and third. Maybe it is because someone told me they were less interesting, but I did not feel the same intrigue or interest as I had previously. There is simply so much information being displayed. All pretty important, yet not all riveting. The reporter/producer goes to such lengths to be not only thorough and interactive. This goes a long way in helping her credibility and informing the viewer to make their own decision, but I feel it would best be presented in the form of a television show or documentary. The lengths she goes make you feel as close to seeing the conversations and town as one can, but still I am not happily tuned in.
The discussion of the path he took in particular was not very interesting to me, though it presented information I need to know about the case. The third episode in particular seemed to not feature many recorded interviews until a string at the end, leaving just the narrator’s voice telling a detailed story of important things, but at times boring things. The longer she talked I realized I did not like her presentation, specifically how she pauses unnaturally in between words. Obviously this is just a personal preference, but perhaps if it was less of her talking for long periods and more fascinating information I would not have noticed. I am still amazed by how in-depth her reporting is.
This podcast is riveting due to many different aspects. The dramatic flair not only in the style of reporting and suspense, but in the voice of the reporter pushed me to keep listening. The report was detail oriented yet extremely conversational. The setup of the soundbites created the perfect atmosphere for each person’s tone of voice to be complemented. The reporter led the listener along, spelling out details, but not as if the listener was incompetent. The due-diligence was quite impressive and gave the reporter credibility. I liked how even though it seemed obvious that the prosecution had not behaved ethically by using several non-concrete clues to prove his guilt, the reporter still spelled it out and said she would hold each flimsy clue up to the light separately.
I do feel as if the podcast started off with seeming certainty that he is innocent, and I wish it would have been more of a mystery. I feel as if there was a strong leaning towards his innocence and flaws on the other side of the case, but since I have recently come into the case I do not see either perspective right off the bat and find I am easily swayed by the leaning. However, I do realize everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and respect the decision to frame the story in such a way. I simply think laying out the facts from either side and then launching into a deeper analysis of who might be deceptive would be affective as well.