• Hayley McGrath

Sidestep the State of Origin. Tackle True Crime instead!

True Crime is coming to Port Macquarie tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 5) as part of LitFest2444 2019. And, everyone’s invited!

Two Australian experts will reveal True Crime’s popularity and power during an hour-long panel discussion on 'Investigative Journalism and the True Crime Podcast', followed by an audience Q and A.

So, if you needed an excuse to give football the flick, this is it.

Most of us love a good crime. Crime literature is huge, while television shows like Law and Order, Shetland and the ABC series Harrow keep millions of eyes glued to the screen season after season, year after year.

But, that’s ‘crime fiction’. What about ‘crime fact’ or True Crime, as it’s called?

These are the real life criminal cases. While some were solved, others remain baffling cold cases.


An hour-long panel discussion and Q and A, 'Investigative Journalism and the True Crime Podcast' is being held at Port Macquarie’s Newman Senior Technical College in Boundary Street, starting with light refreshments at 6.30pm June 5th. Tickets are $15 through the LitFest2444 website, and at the door.


The hosts will be two True Crime experts – ABC investigative journalist Ruby Jones and former fashion designer-turned-True Crime podcaster, Anna Priestland.

Ruby Jones established her reputation as an investigative journalist last year when she collaborated with Neil Mercer to produce Unravel: Barrenjoey Road.

The three-part film documentary and podcast series focused on the abduction and disappearance of 18-year-old Trudie Adams from Sydney’s Northern Beaches 40 years ago. Ruby, who is now writing a book about the case, will reveal some of the shocking facts uncovered for the first time during the investigation.

Anna Priestland is also a fascinating woman. She studied forensics and criminology before working as a fashion designer in Melbourne and London for 18 years.

But, Anna’s passion for True Crime podcasting wouldn’t be denied. In 2016 she become a researcher and writer for the Australian True Crime podcast series Casefile.

For Anna, it’s all about piecing together the small details, the characters and the puzzles of a crime. She now travels the world interviewing police and victims’ families to research and write the scripts for the True Crime stories listeners can’t get enough of.

Anna and Ruby will…

– Share what makes a great True Crime story…

– Provide insights into the craft of storytelling through podcasting…

– Explain the behind-the-scenes production elements, and…

– Reveal how series like Casefile and Unravel are created.

Anna has also recently partnered with The History Channel UK to produce a podcast called The Letters of Love in World War 2.

Coincidentally, it will be launched in Britain tomorrow night (Thursday, June 6) and Anna will no doubt Anna be keen to tell the audience more about it too.


True Crime podcasting is a huge (and growing) phenomenon in virtually every country. Australia’s Casefile series regularly tops the iTunes charts and has a global network of listeners. Every episode commands more than two million downloads – some many times that number.

The podcast on Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe had a record 5.8 million downloads, the outback murder of British tourist Peter Falconio has had more than 4.2 million downloads, and the Moors Murders over a million downloads in just four days. Closer to home, the ABC's podcast series Trace received more than a million downloads of its four episodes earlier this year.


Surprisingly perhaps, the majority of Casefile's listeners are women. They gravitate towards the more intimate, emotional stories and ask themselves how would I feel and react in the same life or death situation. Men, on the other hand, seem to be drawn more to the action-packed narratives.

Ruby Jones was surprised just how invested ordinary Australians became in her Barrenjoey Road series. They wanted to see justice done – even 40 years after Trudie Adams vanished.

So, podcasting is not only a platform for storytelling, it presents a new medium for investigative journalism, too.

It should make for a fascinating evening for anyone hooked on True Crime or podcasting – or both.

Hope to see you there!

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