Serial Productions to launch new podcast on illegal child detentions

Four-part series is co-produced with ProPublica and WPLN Nashville Public Radio

Serial Productions is set to launch a new podcast investigating a Tennessee county which was found to be illegally jailing children for more than a decade, the company has announced.

The four-part series, titled The Kids Of Rutherford County, is produced in partnership with ProPublica and WPLN Nashville Public Radio, building on the initial reporting that the two organisations published on the case. The podcast is also hosted by Peadbosy Award-winning Nashville Public Radio reporter Meribah Knight, who was one of the journalists who worked on the initial investigation.

“It happened so often, to so many kids in Rutherford County, that getting sent to juvenile detention was almost a rite of passage,” Knight said in the trailer for the show. “In many cases, what it also was was illegal. This is the story of how that system came to be, how it came to be normalized, accepted, lauded even. It’s also the story of two insiders who actually did see the problem in Rutherford County.”

The first two episodes of the podcast will launch next Thursday, with the remaining two parts published weekly after that. 

Serial Productions was behind some of podcasting’s earliest breakout hits, including Serial and S-Town. The company was acquired by the New York Times in 2020, and has since gone on to produce successful shows including The Retrievals and The Coldest Case In Laramie.

Earlier this year, the publication leveraged Serial Productions’ shows, alongside some of its other audio content, to launch a new audio journalism app, offering subscribers access to the brand’s full catalogue of podcasts, including early access to shows like This American Life.