Creating S-Town: Brian Reed & Julie Snyder
OUC Speakers at Dr. Phillips Center presents

Creating S-Town: Brian Reed & Julie Snyder

Moderated by Matthew Peddie, host of Intersection on WMFE
June 15 | Walt Disney Theater

Creating S-Town: Brian Reed & Julie Snyder

June 15 | Walt Disney Theater

OUC Speakers at Dr. Phillips Center

Brian Reed
Host & Co-Creator of the groundbreaking podcast S-Town

Brian Reed is the host and co-creator of the groundbreaking podcast S-Town, which is a production of Serial and the public radio show This American Life. Reed is also the senior producer of This American Life.

S-Town was downloaded 40 million times in its first month, setting a new record in podcasting, and is currently the number one podcast on iTunes. Reed spent more than 3 years reporting and writing S-Town, which began when a man named John B. McLemore asked Reed to investigate an alleged murder in his small Alabama town.The series won widespread popular and critical acclaim for elevating audio storytelling into the realm of great literature.

In his seven years with the show, Reed has created some of its most ambitious stories, including “The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra,” an investigation into the Federal Reserve’s supervision of Goldman Sachs; “Cops See It Differently,” a nuanced look at the relationship between African Americans and the police; “Abdi and the Golden Ticket,” which follows a Somali refugee desperately trying to get to America; and “What Happened at Dos Erres,” the story of a massacre in Guatemala and its reverberations decades later.

Reed has investigated multiple sketchy FBI operations, as well as produced stories about strange coincidences and car salesmen on Long Island and a turkey who terrorized a neighborhood before getting murdered by police. His journalism has helped an immigrant gain asylum in the U.S. and prompted a Senate Committee to grill the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of NewYork.

Before joining This American Life as an intern in 2010, Reed reported and produced for NPR as one of their Kroc Fellows and their first Above the Fray Fellow. Reed has received the Dart Award for Reporting on Trauma, the Overseas Press Club Award, and the Peabody Award.

Julie Snyder
Co-Creator & Producer of Award-Winning Podcast SERIAL

Julie Snyder has been the guid- ing force behind two of the most successful ventures in audio broadcasting: she is the co-creator of the podcast Seri- al, which debuted in October 2014 and has been download- ed more than 300 million times, making it the most listened-to podcast in the history of the form; and for many years, she was the senior producer of the public radio show This American Life, which is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week.

Julie Snyder began working at This American Life in 1997 – almost from its incep- tion – and along with host Ira Glass, has set the editorial agenda for the program, winning four Peabody Awards along the way. She has produced many of This American Life’s most entertaining and memorable episodes, including “24 Hours at the Golden Apple,” and “Notes on Camp.” In addition, she has also headed the program’s most ambitious and topical programs, notably episodes covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care reform, and urban violence in Chicago.

In 2013, Snyder began talking with her This American Life colleague Sarah Koenig about trying something new: making a show that doesn’t follow the usual format of a different story every week, but instead making a show where they would cover one story over the course of an entire season. At the time, smart phone technology was making podcasts more accessible for the public and the on-demand nature of podcast listening meant listeners could follow a story in a serialized way, following each chapter of the story as it unfolded week by week. The format was appealing to both Koenig and Snyder because it meant they could use all the tools of narrative journalism to report an in-depth story that featured twists, turns, tangents and suspense along the way.

After a year of reporting, with Koenig as host/reporter and Snyder as editor, Serial became a sensation. Slate headlined “Serial is Like Nothing I’ve Ever Heard or Watched Before”; Buzzfeed wrote “Serial is the Best New Crime Drama (And It’s Not on TV)”; and The New Yorker declared Serial “the podcast we’ve been waiting for.” Among other honors, Serial won the 2014 Peabody Award, the rst time the award has been given to a podcast. Snyder is co-creator and executive producer of S-Town, a 7-part non-fiction podcast from Serial Productions hosted by Brian Reed which premiered in March 2017. S-Town was downloaded more than 10 million in the rst four days of its release — setting a new record in the podcasting world.

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