The kissing cousin podcast to Abandoned Albums.
The conceit of the Abandoned Albums podcast is to highlight albums that never made it on anyone’s radar, have been discarded by the issuing label, or have been ignored.
Lots of folks get hung up on the “abandoned” part - but the reality is nothing is ever truly abandoned, least of all the albums we discuss. Besides, we also talk about the artist’s career as a whole and what they’re currently working on.
It doesn’t mean the albums or music doesn’t exist.
Now, in the same vein, but with a journalistic bend, is the podcast called Killed.
You might also be a scribe/writer/journalist if you're reading this.
If so, you may be familiar with the concept of a story being killed. In a nutshell, it’s when an article/story is written, and then the editor (or whoever) decides NOT to publish it… aka, killed.
This podcast is brought to us by the folks at audiochuck - who give us Crime Junkie, Anatomy of Murder, and The Deck (and others).
Killed is hosted by Justine Harman, the ASME-nominated journalist, and creator of hit podcasts like Broken Harts, Fallen Angel, and O.C. Swingers. Her writing has appeared in ELLE, The New York Times Book Review, New York, Glamour, and more.
No doubt Harman is familiar with a story being killed.
The title of the podcast is on brand for audiochuck. They produce primarily true crime podcasts, so what got my attention first was the title. When I read the synopsis, my interest was immediately piqued when I discovered they were covering journalism and not murder.
And boy-howdy did it hit the mark for me. Some of the shows are almost as suspenseful as a true crime podcast.
My OCD and lack of impulse control aside, the ten episodes of Killed are binge-worthy - I ripped through them in one day.
Among the topics covered are:
The awfulness of film director Bryan Singer (Esquire killed the story, but it eventually found a home at The Atlantic).
A green journalist snags the interview of a lifetime when John Wayne Gacy agrees to meet a week before he is executed (killed by Details, picked up by LA Weekly).
A piece on the estranged daughter of Joseph Stalin (Vanity Fair killed the article… TWICE, and then it was picked up by The New Yorker - I didn’t even know Stalin had kids).
It’s tough to imagine that ANYONE would kill a story about Jeffery Epstein, but New York Magazine did. And oddly, you’ll end up supporting the decision.
An oral history of the McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn (killed by VICE but saved by Substack’s own We’ll Have to Pass).
The story of the magazine George - #iykyk. They had paid top dollar for an essay by Gore Vidal and found the resulting piece unpublishable. That sentence alone doesn’t do justice to the gravitas of the story. Consider not just a start-up, but a start-up political magazine edited by America’s crown prince (JFK, Jr.), paying upwards of 50K for an essay by one of America’s most revered writers before killing the story entirely.
The other stories include actor Armie Hammer’s blue-blooded atrocious behavior (even by Hollywood’s standards), Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, and a story about NYC’s other world of street names in Chinatown. All the stories are equally fascinating, and they eventually find a home.
Most of these stories did not end up in the graveyard of journalism.
The only two pieces that seem to be killed are the Armie Hammie one and the Gore Vidal piece for George Magazine. Sometimes delayed, all the writers were paid for their writing, and a couple got paid twice in addition to a kill fee.
The stories are genuinely fascinating… and heartbreaking at times (see McCarren Pool story).
Even though I have skin in the game with my own Abandoned Albums, I’m confident there is no medium today that can provide as much (or as little) depth as you want on a wide array of topics.
Try it yourself; it’s fucking remarkable.
For the curious among us, podcasts are a great thing.
For the curious writers among us, Killed is a great podcast.
For the curious music lovers among us, there is its kissing cousin Abandoned Albums.