Since the success of “The Orange Tree,” we’ve been on the lookout for our next duo of stellar true crime podcasters — and now we’ve found them. Ashley Miznazi and Kenny Jones are the latest additions to our team, and they’ll be producing our next true crime podcast on the 2018 Austin serial bombings.
Miznazi and Jones, both journalism juniors, came up with the idea in the fall 2020 semester. The pair, without realizing it, had signed up for the class Audio Storytelling. There, they were tasked with creating a podcast trailer about any topic, but the assignment had to be done with a partner. Jones only knew Miznazi from working on one video for The Daily Texan, so he asked if they could work together.
In one of the class’ Zoom breakout rooms, Miznazi and Jones brainstormed for podcast ideas and eventually landed on creating a mermaid podcast. After class, they continued racking their brains for ideas when Jones remembered the Austin serial bombings. He used to play in an orchestra with one of the victims.
“It was just something that I have always wanted to report on because it was pretty close to home,” Jones said. “And also I feel like a lot of people didn’t really recover from it, especially in Austin. It kind of was just a thing that happened and then everyone forgot about it.”
Jones FaceTimed Miznazi to gauge her thoughts. She was 100% on board with the project.
“It has been done, but it definitely hasn’t been done in the way that we’re intending to do it,” Miznazi said. “I just automatically knew that was what we were going to go with.”
Although they only needed to produce a podcast trailer for the class assignment, Miznazi and Jones went into the project with sensitivity and care. They didn’t feel quite right reaching out to sources for just one assignment. Robert Quigley, The Drag’s executive producer and Audio Storytelling’s professor, mentioned that other students in the past have continued past the assignment and produced entire podcasts. With that in mind, the duo reached out to sources and asked if they were interested in the idea.
The assignment led to one impressive interview after another, so much so that Quigley asked Miznazi and Jones if they would like to produce the podcast for The Drag.
“All I knew that The Drag did was ‘The Orange Tree,’ and that was super good and had made huge headlines,’” Jones said. “Already, we have big shoes to fill on us, but I’m really excited because everyone seems to believe in us.”
Miznazi and Jones are currently in the reporting stages of podcast production, and they expect to air the podcast in 2022.