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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Role of the Narrator in True Crime Documentary Series

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abstract
Since the launch of the popular true crime podcast Serial in October 2014, true crime series, both fiction and non-fiction, have flooded network programming. The genre of true crime has existed since the early years of television, and the genre carries established tropes, such as the narrator. Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm states that human beings use stories to make sense of the world and form arguments. While the narrative paradigm discusses how orators can use narratives to construct arguments, it overlooks the importance of the narrator in framing and judging such narratives. This thesis explores how narrators navigate the technical discourse of law to construct meaning through these narratives to present a truth about a crime. Each case study features a different style of narration, and were released on different services within a 15-month period. The case studies of Sarah Koenig the Journalist Narrator from Serial, Andrew Jarecki the Advocate Narrator from The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, and Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi the Hidden Narrators from Making a Murderer provide examples of the types of narrators present in true crime series today, and illustrate how narrators are able to present the “truth” to audiences through establishing their credibility then arguing for their opinions.
subject
Making a Murderer
Media Studies
Narrative Paradigm
Narrators
Serial
The Jinx
contributor
Dosser, Maxwell Albert (author)
Von Burg, Ronald L (committee chair)
Dalton, Mary M (committee member)
Piercy, David S (committee member)
date
2017-06-15T08:36:16Z (accessioned)
2017 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
2022-06-01 (liftdate)
embargo
2022-06-01 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/82251 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Role of the Narrator in True Crime Documentary Series
type
Thesis

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