True Crime Stories Are More Than Entertainment

True crime stories have taken over the internet, with Netflix episodes, YouTube videos and podcasts being created regularly on the subject. Most fans of this genre are guilty of listening to or watching true crime content without thinking much about it. American society has become increasingly desensitized to the graphic nature of true crime content. As viewers and listeners, we’re able to turn off a show or podcast when we’re done viewing or listening, often forgetting the story we just heard is someone else’s reality. True crime will even cross over with other popular genres on YouTube, like ASMR and Get Ready With Me (GRWM) videos. 

Most people who are fans of true crime have one story that particularly impacts them. For me, that story is the disappearance of Alissa Turney. Within the last year, I have been obsessed with this case. I listen to the Voices for Justice Podcast (VFJ) regularly, as well as other YouTube episodes or podcasts that discuss this case. I joined the VFJ Patreon, DM’d Alissa Turney’s sister and creator of VFJ, Sarah Turney, about the case. I encouraged strangers on Twitter to listen to VFJ that asked for podcast recommendations and I even wrote an essay last semester about how the media has covered Alissa Turney’s disappearance for my Media Ethics final. 

There are several personal reasons why this case is so meaningful to me, but that is not the purpose of this article. I want to discuss why fans of the true crime genre need to step back and realize that these documentaries, TV episodes, YouTube videos and podcasts are more than entertainment. They are real stories that affect real people and their families every day. You shouldn’t feel guilty for seeking out these stories. Many people are interested in true crime and there are psychological reasons behind why people are fixated on these stories.

It’s important to show support for families who have lost loved ones due to the malicious actions of others. It’s important for us as true crime consumers to show support for the people telling these stories.  Here are some accounts you should follow to showcase this support.

Advocacy: 

The twitter accounts linked below are run by family members seeking to raise awareness about the death and/or disappearance of their loved ones. The owners of these accounts share ways to raise awareness about the missing person they are advocating for. They also use their following to raise awareness about other missing persons cases.

Here are some true crime advocacy accounts to check out:

@JusticeforDj88

@for_myers

@jake_missing

@SarahETurney

@justiceformary1

@HopeForHaileyD

@carrieri_jenny

Podcasts:

If you're looking for podcasts that are respectful and sensitive to the friends and family of those who have been victims of a crime, check out these podcasts on Spotify:

Voices for Justice Podcast

Mile Higher Podcast 

Missing Maura Murray 

Missing Alissa

Crime Junkie Podcast

Serial Podcast 

Organizations:

Below are the Twitter accounts of important organizations that are working towards bettering the lives of people who have been the victims of crime and/or have been let down by the criminal justice system:

@IMissingpersons

@PROTECT

@thorn

@SavetheNextGirl

@MissingKids

@TheAISOCC

Next time you're binge watching a true crime TV show or listening to a true crime podcast, I would like to encourage you to dig deeper. Do what you can to advocate for these individuals who can no longer share their stories. Whether that's sharing their story on your social media or donating to a fundraiser for billboards, small actions can go a long way.