Sarah Koenig

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Sarah Koenig
Sarah Koenig, American journalist 2015.jpg
Sarah Koenig in 2015
Sarah Augusta Koenig

(1969-07-09) July 9, 1969 (age 51)
Alma materThe University of Chicago
  • Journalist
  • Public radio personality
  • former producer of the television and radio program This American Life
Known forHost and executive producer of Serial
Spouse(s)Ben Schreier
Parent(s)Maria Eckhart Koenig Matthiessen
Julian Koenig
FamilyPeter Matthiessen (step-father)
Lester Koenig (uncle)
  • Peabody award
  • Scripps-Howard award
  • Lowell Thomas Overseas Press Club award[1]
  • Women’s Press Club of New York award[2]

Sarah Koenig (/ˈknɪɡ/; born July 9, 1969 in New York City)[3] is an American journalist, public radio personality, former[4] producer of the television and radio program This American Life,[5] and the host and executive producer of the podcast Serial.[6]

Early life[edit]

Koenig was born July 1969 in New York City to Julian Koenig and his second wife Maria Eckhart.[3] Sarah is Jewish. Her father was a well known copywriter. After her parents' divorce, Sarah’s mother married writer Peter Matthiessen.[7] Koenig graduated from the University of Chicago in 1990 with A.B, majoring in Political Science. She attended Columbia University for her postgraduate degree in Russian history but she left after two weeks.[8]


After graduating from college Koenig began working as a reporter at The East Hampton Star.[9] Then she worked in Russia as a reporter for ABC News and later for The New York Times.[10] She covered the State House (politics) for the Concord Monitor and later for the Baltimore Sun.[2]

She began working as a producer for This American Life in January 2004.[10] She co-produced the 2006 Peabody Award-winning episode of This American Life titled "Habeas Schmabeas."[11]

In 2013, she began work on a spinoff podcast of the This American Life radio program titled Serial, which debuted in October 2014. Serial was honored with a Peabody award in April 2015, noting that it took podcasting into the cultural mainstream.[12]

Recognition and honors[edit]

TIME magazine named Koenig one of "The 100 Most Influential People" on April 16, 2015.[13] Also in 2015, she was named as one of The Forward 50.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Koenig is the daughter of advertising copywriter Julian Koenig and Maria (Eckhart) Matthiessen. Her stepfather was novelist Peter Matthiessen.

Koenig attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts.[15] She lives in State College, Pennsylvania,[16] with her husband, Ben Schreier, an associate professor of Jewish studies and English at Penn State,[16] and their two children.

In popular culture[edit]

In the fortieth season of Saturday Night Live, Sarah was portrayed by Cecily Strong in a segment titled "Serial: The Christmas Surprise", a parody of Sarah's investigative podcast, Serial.[17][18] In 2015, Koenig cameoed as herself in the second season episode of BoJack Horseman, "Out to Sea", voicing Diane Nguyen's ringtone with a parody of her Serial introduction.[19] This came a season after podcaster Ira Glass held the same to-be-recurring role.[20]


  1. ^ "The Lowell Thomas Award 2005". Overseas Press Club of America. 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "OFF OFF Campus | Sarah Koenig". OFF OFF Campus. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Sarah Janssen, ed. (December 6, 2016). The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2017. World Almanac. United States: World Almanac. p. 1737. ISBN 978-1-60057-207-4. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Radio Archive by Contributor | Sarah Koenig". This American Life from WBEZ. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "SERIAL | About". SERIAL. Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  7. ^ Sarah Koenig: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
  8. ^ "Uncommon Interview: Serial's Sarah Koenig (A.B. '90)". March 2015.
  9. ^ "Non-Cook of the Month – Sarah Koenig". Picky Grouchy Non-Cook. May 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Staff | This American Life". This American Life. Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "This American Life | Habeas-Schmabeas". This American Life from WBEZ. March 10, 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  12. ^ "Serial". 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  13. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People". Time Magazine. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "Forward 50 2015 –". November 7, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "2015 Commencement Note for All Students". Concord Academy. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Sellers, Caitlin (February 16, 2009). "Radio show offers glimpse of professors' love story". The Daily Collegian. The Daily Collegian, State College, PA. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  17. ^ Samantha Grossman (December 22, 2014). "This Hilarious SNL Serial Parody Is the Ultimate Christmas Present". TIME. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Melissa Locker (June 21, 2015). "Cecily Strong's Impression of Serial Host Sarah Koenig Is Unreal". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on August 2, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  19. ^ Kliegman, Julie (August 7, 2015). "BoJack Horseman Review: "Out to Sea" (2.12)". Paste Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  20. ^ Arnold, Brett (September 17, 2014). "Ira Glass Stunned By How Many People Want His Ringtone From 'BoJack Horseman'". Business Insider. Retrieved April 8, 2020.

External links[edit]