The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet – TIME

When the NPR host and producer dropped his first podcast, S-Town, in March, it was essentially billed as the next Serial — a twisty tale that would have listeners guessing and theorizing for weeks on end. And while it did kick off with a murder mystery, it quickly transformed into something far more fascinating: an in-depth exploration of one man’s life — and death — in Woodstock, Ala. (the titular “Shit Town,” or S-Town). Breaking from traditional podcast style, Reed dropped all seven episodes at once, ready to be binged. The risk paid off: In its first week, listeners downloaded S-Town 16 million times. (It took Serial six weeks to reach that status.) S-Town remains one of the world’s most-downloaded podcasts, nearly four months after its debut. But as the series grew more popular, some accused it of being exploitative and insensitive, especially in exposing so many secrets about a subject who was not alive to defend himself. —Eliana Dockterman

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