“We Need Your Help”: The Rhetorical Construction of the Citizen Detective in True Crime Podcast Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad

Amelia Kemp

Name: Amelia Kemp
Majors: Communication Studies and Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Rohini Singh and Dr. Tom Tierney (second reader)
What is the role of citizens in detective work? Should everyday citizens have a role in police work at all? Is there a danger in using citizens as detectives for police investigations and cold cases? This essay explores how rhetoric in true crime media constructs the role of the listener and the ensuing implications of these constructions. To examine this concept, I undertook a generative criticism of eight episodes of the true crime podcast Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad that span from June 24th, 2019 to August 3rd, 2020. In my study, I provide a base of scholarly knowledge via a literature review focused on rhetorical genre, true crime as a genre, surveillance, neighborhood watch, panopticism, and governmentality. I illuminate the deep-seated metaphor of podcast-as-class and conclude by examining the implications of this metaphor and the larger act of turning listeners into citizen detectives.

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Amelia will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.

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