Sarah Koenig, Brittany Packnett named 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers by John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Sarah Koenig, Brittany Packnett named 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers by John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Sarah Koenig, Brittany Packnett named 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers by John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, NY, January 10, 2019 — Sarah Koenig, co-creator of Serial, and Brittany Packnett, contributor to the Webby-award winning Pod Save the People podcast, will be honored February 21, 2019 as the 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers.

The awards are given annually by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Crime Report to honor individuals in the media or media-related fields who have advanced national understanding of the 21st-century challenges of criminal justice.

Koenig’s Serial program, which launched in 2014, is credited with bringing mainstream attention to podcasting. Episodes have been downloaded more than 420 million times and have attracted new audiences to the issues of justice reform. The third season, covering the criminal justice system in Cleveland, premiered in late 2018.

Packnett, named one of TIME Magazine’s “12 New Faces of Black Leadership,” has emerged as one of the most exciting new voices for justice reform through her impactful use of activist podcasting and other media channels. Her achievements include co-founding Campaign Zero, which lobbies for police reform, and serving as vice president of National Community Alliances for Teach for America. Pod Save the People debuted on the iTunes podcast chart at number four, and reached a peak of number two.

“The changes in the media landscape have generated innovative approaches to reaching audiences around the country, and the debate over criminal justice has deepened as a result,” said Stephen Handelman, Executive Editor of The Crime Report. “Sarah and Brittany are extraordinary examples of creative media entrepreneurship, and they’ve blazed a path that others are now following.”

The two women will be presented with the sixth annual Justice Media Trailblazer award at John Jay College, during a dinner on the evening of February 21, which will also recognize the winners of the annual 2018-2019 John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Prizes for Excellence in Criminal Justice Journalism. The dinner is the highlight of the 14th annual John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Symposium on Justice in America held February 21 and 22.

Previous Trailblazers were: Bill Moyers executive producer of “Rikers: An American Jail”; Van Jones of CNN; David Simon of The Wire; Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black; NPR's Maria Hinojosa, producer of Latino USA; and New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Serial co-creator Julie Snyder will introduce Koenig at the dinner; and Brooklyn, NY activist Blair Imani will introduce Packnett. The event will be emceed by NY 1 News anchor Errol Louis.  

Seating is available by reservation only. Please find details here.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nationsIn teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality, and the rule of law. For more information, visit and follow @JohnJayCollege on Twitter.

The Crime Report,  published daily by  John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice,  is a national online site located at, that provides analysis, research news  and commentary prepared for practitioners, criminologists, journalists and others across the criminal justice community. The Center on Media, Crime and Justice was established at John Jay College in 2006 as the nation's only practice- and research-oriented think tank devoted to encouraging and developing high-quality reporting on criminal justice, and to promoting better-informed public debate on the complex 21st Century challenges of law enforcement, public security and justice in a globalized urban society. For more information, visit the Center on Media, Crime and Justice website.