The ethics of true crime content: Listen to Dakota Spotlight's interview with Eric Carter-Landin host of True Consequences podcast

His baby brother was murdered and the man responsible walked away a free man. Years later, long after his family had stopped talking about the worst day of their lives, Eric Carter-Landin bought a microphone and set out to find justice for his brother.

Eric Carter-Landin is the host of True Consequences podcast. His little brother Jacob was murdered before his first birthday. Carter-Landin now advocates for victims and their families and is seeking justice for his brother. / Photo courtesy of Eric Carter-Landin
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Eric Carter-Landin has a pleasant voice. That comes in handy when he hosts True Consequences podcast from his home in New Mexico. But his voice is more than just pleasant. What seeps into his thoughtful and carefully chosen words is a strong sense of empathy. Eric Carter-Landin cares about victims.

One such victim was his baby brother Jacob, murdered before his first birthday. Jacob had been left alone with their mother's new boyfriend and within an hour required medical attention. He was airlifted to a hospital but Jacob did not survive. No arrests have ever been made.

Decades later, Eric's family had stopped talking about baby Jacob and the very worst day of their lives. Until two years ago when Carter-Landin realized he could no longer stay silent. Armed with a microphone and an endless arsenal of personal persistence and dedication, Eric now has hope that justice will be served in his brother's murder.

Eric Carter-Landin produces True Consequences podcast from his home in the state of New Mexico / Photo courtesy of Eric Carter-Landin


"I think that true crime should be victim-focused . . . provided through the lens of empathy."

Eric Carter-Landin, producer of True Consequences Podcast talking about the ethics of true crime podcasts

A popular yet problematic genre

Carter-Landin has plenty to say about the ethics of true crime. In fact, he states outright that he thinks what some content producers are doing in this popular genre is just downright wrong. Romanticizing serial killers is one example he offers of where some true crime producers cross the line. "I think that true crime should be victim-focused and . . . provided through the lens of empathy," he says.

But the intent of a true crime storyteller goes a long way in Carter-Landin's eyes and ears. In fact, he confesses that he has made some mistakes of his own. But it's what we do with those mistakes that Carter-Landin finds most important. "Are you willing to learn, to change your mindset to be better?"


Dakota Spotlight speaks with Eric Carter-Landin producer and host of the podcast True Consequences:



  • The Lady Vanishes: the strange disappearance of an Australian school teacher Imagine your 51-year-old, divorced and single mother tells you she's taking a sabbatical to travel the world for a few months and is never heard from again. You notify the police but they say your mother's disappearance was voluntary and she is alive and well. Imagine 24 years pass and still no word from your mom. What would you do?

  • 1 murder + 1 suspect + 1 confession = 0 convictions: Listen to the story of missing Brandy Myers When an innocent teenager is murdered, family members are left devastated and heartbroken. The closest loved ones can get to some kind of closure is when perpetrators are apprehended and convicted. Sometimes that just never happens, even when we know who did it.

  • He traded his badge for a microphone: Listen how one ex-cop is seeking justice with a true crime podcast When the wheels of justice run too slowly, the public can become frustrated. Sometimes law enforcement lose patience with the system, too. When an Australian cop learned that a victim of domestic violence had died and nothing was being done about it, he turned in his badge to seek justice with a microphone.

Other true Crime podcasts BY JAMES WOLNER

  • What happened to 15-year-old Barbara Louise Cotton, vanished from the streets of Williston 40 years ago? Barbara Louise Cotton disappeared from Williston, N.D., on April 11, 1981. She was reportedly last seen walking towards her home after having dinner with her boyfriend and another friend. Barbara never arrived at her destination and has never been seen or heard from again. Her case is considered open and unsolved. Dakota Spotlight's podcast series, "A better search for Barbara" explores and investigates this cryptic cold case from the north-west corner of North Dakota.

  • How did Victor Die? The Full audio podcast about a mysterious death in Glen Ullin, N.D. Newberry's body was found along a gravel road less than a mile from his Glen Ullin, N.D., home in December 2014. Law enforcement said there was no foul play, but locals speculated there was more to the story.

  • True crime podcast: The untold story of a Zeeland, N.D., couple and their tragic murders in 1976
  • The house on Sweet & 7th: the Erickstad homicides. Listen to Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast hosted by James Wolner of Forum Communications Co.
  • In "Chasing Billy: A Pursuit for Justice," Dakota Spotlight debuts episode 1 of a new season focused on unsolved 1978 murder Listen to Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast hosted by James Wolner of Forum Communications Co.

RELATED Podcast homepage | Newsletter | Season 3 videos | Season 2: 1976 Zick murders |


James Wolner is a Digital Content Producer at Forum Communications Company, Fargo North Dakota and the creator, producer and host of Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast. He has lived the Upper Midwest since 2013 and studied photojournalism at California State University at Fresno. He is fluent in English and Swedish.
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