Documentary

The best documentary podcasts for compelling stories, investigative journalism, and crime-solving including cult antics, hurricane racism, college admission scandals, and Dolly Parton’s ability to connect the world.

// List of 16 of the best documentary podcasts
Criminal

Criminal is a podcast that tells one-off stories about crime. Not exactly the straightforward murder kind of crime, but something a little more gripping. You’ll find stories of stolen identities & poisonings, people who’ve been wronged, done wrong, and those who’ve been caught in the middle.

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    Rabbit Hole

    New York Times tech journalist, Kevin Roose, takes listeners on an inside journey of YouTube in this podcast and shows how it influences culture & news. Understand how viewers find videos, how easily they can be radicalized by content, whether companies will be regulated, and what’s next in big tech.

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      Dolly Parton’s America

      This delightful and incredibly interesting documentary podcast explores how Dolly Parton’s songs & music have managed to connect people worldwide, despite their age, religious or political bias. It’s a beautiful, musical, and historical journey of an American icon.

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        Escaping NXIVM

        Escaping NXIVM (pronounced Nexium) is about one woman’s journey to escape a mind manipulating cult that groomed women & men to carry out the whims of its leader, Kieth Raniere. His ability to control otherwise intelligent people into behaving erratically will shock you.

        Floodlines

        Floodlines is an honest, maddening, and brutal look at what really happened in New Orleans during and after hurricane Katrina. Echoing racial inequities that are still ringing through today, it’s a compelling documentary from which everyone will emerge a little more educated.

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          Chameleon, The Hollywood Con Queen

          This real-life story of a Hollywood con artist convincing people they had been selected for lucrative movie jobs caught the attention of journalists Josh Dean and Vanessa Grigoriadis when it unraveled on social media. Their investigation and where it leads will utterly shock you.

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            Gangster Capitalism

            Centered around uncovering corporate corruption in America, this podcast is an addictive listen. The award-winning first season dove into the power of money amidst the college admissions scandal. And the second is just as gripping, as they investigate the mighty NRA.

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              Catch & Kill Podcast

              This thrilling 10-episode series follows Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein and the institutions that protect powerful men. You’ll hear from #MeToo victims, industry whistleblowers, and undercover investigators retelling the chilling & sordid details in their own words for the first time.

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                In Black America

                In this long-running, nationally syndicated program, John Hanson focuses on all aspects of the African American experience. He profiles or interviews a selection of historically and current noteworthy individuals whose stories have helped illuminate life in Black America.

                1619

                This podcast began on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of first ship carrying African slaves to America in 1619. Hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones for the New York Times, it recounts the story of slavery in America from the very beginning, and the strength it took each individual to survive.

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