In many ways, true crime has become the poster-child for podcasting as a medium. However, while there is a huge and diverse range of podcast content beyond true crime, it’s hard to argue with its consistent popularity. With this in mind, the winner of this category is a podcast that has set itself apart from its peers with vital and impactful reporting that balances sensitivity with sensationalism.
Winner: Inside the Tribe
Inside the Tribe is an enormously compelling true crime podcast that covers a 50-year-old cult on the brink of collapse. The 12 Tribes, a Christian sect, seem to offer a life in seclusion offering a utopia of love, peace and communal living. But plenty of people who have joined find something more sinister: a world of virtual slavery, bizarre rituals and extreme beliefs under the influence of a charismatic leader, with no easy means of escape.
The heroes of the story are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things while lost to the community. It’s a story of how manipulation and skewed power dynamics can make anybody do the unthinkable.
The series has not only validated the experiences of hundreds of people and begun to heal family relationships, but has helped inform pending legal action. With the recent death of the group’s founder, the podcast could soon be there to cover its bitter end, too.