Sarah Koenig

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Sarah Koenig
Koenig in 2015
Sarah Augusta Koenig

(1969-07-09) July 9, 1969 (age 54)
New York City, New York, United States
Alma materUniversity of Chicago (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Journalist
  • public radio personality
  • former producer of the television and radio program This American Life.
Known forHost and executive producer of Serial
SpouseBen 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.[7] Her father was a well-known copywriter. Her mother is from Tanzania.[8][9] After her parents' divorce, Sarah's mother married writer Peter Matthiessen.[10] Koenig attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts.[11] Koenig graduated from the University of Chicago in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science. She attended Columbia University for a postgraduate degree in Russian history, but she left after two weeks.[12]


After graduating from college Koenig began working as a reporter at The East Hampton Star.[13] Then she worked in Russia as a reporter for ABC News and later for The New York Times.[14] 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.[14] She co-produced the 2006 Peabody Award-winning episode of This American Life titled "Habeas Schmabeas."[15]

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.[16]

Recognition and honors[edit]

TIME magazine named Koenig one of "The 100 Most Influential People" on April 16, 2015.[17] Also in 2015, she was named as one of The Forward 50.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Koenig lives in State College, Pennsylvania,[19] with her husband, Ben Schreier, an associate professor of Jewish studies and English at Penn State,[19] and their two children.

In popular culture[edit]

In the fortieth season of Saturday Night Live, Koenig was portrayed by Cecily Strong in a segment titled "Serial: The Christmas Surprise",[20] a parody of her investigative podcast Serial.[21][22] Also in 2014, Koenig was portrayed by Michaela Watkins struggling to solve the murder of Hae Min Lee in time for the first season finale of Serial in a digital skit for Funny or Die. In 2015, Koenig played herself in the second season episode of BoJack Horseman, "Out to Sea", voicing Diane Nguyen's ringtone with a parody of her Serial introduction.[23] This came a season after podcaster Ira Glass held the same to-be-recurring role.[24] In Hulu's Only Murders in the Building, the podcast All Is Not OK in Oklahoma and character Cinda Canning played by Tina Fey were inspired by Sarah Koenig and her podcast Serial.[25] Koenig was animated in the second episode of the twenty-second season of Family Guy, "Supermarket Pete", as a podcaster trying to solve a murder case and get credit for it.


  1. ^ "The Lowell Thomas Award 2005". Overseas Press Club of America. 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "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. United States: World Almanac. p. 1737. ISBN 978-1-60057-207-4. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Stack, Liam (March 29, 2018). "New Trial Upheld for Adnan Syed of 'Serial'". The New York Times.
  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. ^ Eil, Philip (July 6, 2015). "Say Hello to the Internet's Biggest Jewish Stars". Jewish Daily Forward.
  8. ^ "In Paradise (Matthiessen) - LitLovers".
  9. ^ "An examined life worth sharing".
  10. ^ Sarah Koenig: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
  11. ^ "2015 Commencement Note for All Students". Concord Academy. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  12. ^ "Uncommon Interview: Serial's Sarah Koenig (A.B. '90)". March 2015.
  13. ^ "Non-Cook of the Month – Sarah Koenig". Picky Grouchy Non-Cook. May 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Staff". This American Life. Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "Habeas-Schmabeas". This American Life from WBEZ. March 10, 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "Serial". 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  17. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People". Time Magazine. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  18. ^ "Forward 50 2015 –". November 7, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ SNL (December 21, 2014). "Serial: The Christmas Surprise". youtube. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Kliegman, Julie (August 7, 2015). "BoJack Horseman Review: "Out to Sea" (2.12)". Paste Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  24. ^ Arnold, Brett (September 17, 2014). "Ira Glass Stunned By How Many People Want His Ringtone From 'BoJack Horseman'". Business Insider. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  25. ^ Marks, Andrea (September 21, 2021). "The True Crime Inspiration Behind 'Only Murders In the Building'". RollingStone. Retrieved September 29, 2021.

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