True Crime Podcasts in Australia: Exploring listener perceptions
Dr Laura Vitis1
1QUT, Brisbane, Australia
The Australian public are increasingly accessing stories about crime, violence and harm via true crime podcasts (TCPs). The number of Australians who downloaded a podcast increased from 908,000 in 2014-2015 to 1.6 million in 2018-2019 (ACMA, 2019) and true crime is the fourth most popular genre for podcast listeners aged 14-34 years and the third most popular for listeners aged 35-54 years (ABC, 2019). Additionally, the most downloaded podcast in the country is currently the independent TCP Casefile which has reached both national and international renown (Australian Podcast Ranker, 2021).The increasing popularity of TCPs in Australia demonstrates a continuation of the historical fascination with true crime (Franks, 2020) via new platforms that allow for ‘binge-ability’ (Horeck, 2019). Despite the proliferation of TCPs in the Australian media landscape, there is limited research examining listener perceptions of these texts. Drawing from a recent survey of Australian University students who listen to TCPs , this paper explores popular subject matter, listening patterns and stylistic attributes of TCPs. In addition to listener motivations and perceptions of the role of expressive and instrumental justice in these texts. This paper highlights the importance of critically examining Australian TCPs as contemporary sites of information and authoritative public resources on crime and the criminal justice system.
Dr Laura Vitis is a Lecturer in the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on how technology is used to facilitate gendered, sexual and domestic violence. Her work also examines the role of mediated sites in justice-seeking for violence against women with a particular focus on informal justice-seeking and true crime.