Today we’d like to introduce you to The Fall Line Podcast Laurah Norton and Brooke Hargrove.
The Fall Line Podcast , please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
The Fall Line began as a way to signal boost the cold case of Jeannette and Dannette Millbrook, twin 15-year-olds from Augusta, GA who vanished in 1990. Their case was improperly closed in 1991 and not reopened until 2013. They had very little web presence, with the only articles (three) surrounding the 2013 re-opening of the case. The Fall Line podcast covered their family’s experiences and dug into possible leads in the case, eventually putting out a season devoted to the twins in the summer of 2017. Along the way, we developed our show’s focus: narrative deep-dives into the under-covered, under-researched, and often under-investigated stories of the Southeast’s missing and murdered. The main focus is on communities who historically (and currently) get pushed to the margins of media coverage. To date, three seasons have been released–Season 1 on the Millbrook twins, Season 2 on the Bennett siblings of Brunswick, GA, and Season 3 on the Grady Memorial Hospital infant kidnappings. On April 3rd, the newest season, Between the Lines, premieres. It’s the first non-serial season, and we’re looking at seven cases of missing, murdered, and unidentified people.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
The Fall Line is a little different from most true-crime podcasts, in that source material is scarce, and much of what is made is gathered through our own fieldwork. When families are involved, we foreground their stories and experiences. Hargrove is a licensed therapist specializing in grief and trauma, so she conducts interviews. This is narrative, investigative, creative nonfiction, with an emphasis on story. The hosts remain in the background. The show makes use of content advisors who identify as members of the communities covered in the podcast, and multiple advisors read each script and offer their take on language, positioning, description, and more. Each story takes about a year to produce–from research, fieldwork, interviews, writing, reviewing, and production. It’s slow because the podcast team wants to do the best job possible–and that includes everyone from research assistants to content advisors to the audio engineer.
What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Between us, we’ve been making art for 20+ years. Podcasting has opened up a totally new way to create, but it also brings along a new set of responsibilities and concerns. The reach of this art form is immense, which means that done badly, the negative impact can also be great. Perhaps the role of the podcaster — the creative nonfiction writer, too–is a perfect example of how the contemporary artist should think of audience. A global audience will encounter your work. Do you know as much about them, and the issues they face, as you should? If not, how do you learn? The artist learns along with the artist’s audience, and from that audience.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
The Fall Line Podcast is available on all podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and more. We’re active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We encourage interested readers to donate to the Millbrook twins’ reward billboard. Listeners have raised a 10k reward in the case, and now we focus on crowdfunding a billboard in Augusta so that citizens are aware that the reward exists. Very few people in town have even heard of Jeannette and Dannette, much less know they vanished. https://www.gofundme.com/millbrook-twins-billboard
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