A new podcast about the Bain family murders has been a hit, following in the footsteps of popular ones about unsolved crimes overseas. Is it journalism – or entertainment? And why are we so keen on podcasts about old cold cases and true crimes?​

The logo for the Black Hands series.

The logo for the Black Hands series.
Photo: screenshot

Fairfax Media’s core business in New Zealand is news. It publishes most of the country’s major newspapers and the most-visited news website stuff.co.nz.

It was all set to release its first ever podcast series last Monday, after a bit of publicity in the Sunday Star Times and an online promotional ad. 

But when the audio trailer for Black Hands went to the top of the iTunes podcast ranking all on its own, Fairfax released the entire 10-part series straight away last Sunday.

Black Hands is all about the killing of five members of the Bain family in Dunedin back in 1994. Hence the stark sub-heading: ‘A family mass-murder’. Almost everyone who’s followed the news…

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