Exile Content Studio, the Spanish and English-language audio content creator that is now part of Candle Media, has launched Shoot the Messenger, a new podcast in which it collaborates with a different reporting partner based on the focus and content of each season. The first season of the series, themed as “Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Software,” will see it work with PRX.
Hosted by Exile’s Rose Reid and Nando Vila, each 10-episode season will be a serialized investigation of a high-profile, often unsolved or unresolved crime with global implications. New episodes of the Exile-produced podcast will be distributed by PRX and released every two weeks.
“We’re thrilled to partner with PRX on this podcast series, which represents our biggest and most important journalistic effort to date,” Exile CEO Isaac Lee said in a statement. “Through Shoot the Messenger, Exile will build a strong pipeline to reveal and showcase critical stories from across the globe, as told by our experienced journalistic team, in partnership with reporters who often put themselves in harm’s way to reveal the realities of the world.”
Running through May, Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Software, examines the assassination of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, exposing the role of NSO Group’s Pegasus software in tracking his inner circle prior to his murder, and reveals the growing threat of surveillance to people, journalists, and activists across the globe. Like all seasons of this new podcast, the first one starts with a thought-provoking crime with global implications, and then aims to answer it throughout each episode through a myriad of interviews with key figures.
That includes interviews with Khashoggi’s widow, Hanan Elatr, and Washington Post Reporter Dana Priest, a former colleague of Khashoggi, who helped Elatr discover that Pegasus software had been used on her phone over the course of several years, including the last five months of Khashoggi’s life. In addition, the hosts interview Meta’s Whatsapp engineers who first discovered the Pegasus breach and Financial Times Reporters Mehul Srivastava and Kaye Wiggins who cover NSO Group for the publication, and Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa, who has been continuously intimidated by her government.
“Shoot the Messenger is the latest example of Exile’s commitment to taking a bold approach to using investigative journalism to look at lawsuits, assassinations, and other cases that often have left danger, dread, and even death in its wake,” said Rose Reid, Exile Head of U.S. Audio and host of Shoot the Messenger. “I can say that my experience reporting for this podcast has really changed the way I look at my personal and professional life as both a private citizen and a podcaster, and I’m sure it will have a similar impact on our listeners who won’t be able to help but get caught up in the riveting sagas we share each season.”
Shoot the Messenger is exclusively financed and produced by Exile, which has committed to two seasons of the new audio format. The first season of the podcast series is the result of a special partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists, inspired by the organization’s’ research conducted into the biggest threats facing journalists in the world today.
“As Exile’s Reid and Vila so vividly expose in each episode, spyware has been weaponized to intimidate other journalists too, putting them at risk of violence, and with some even wrongly jailed,” CPJ’s Gypsy Guillén Kaiser said. “The prospect of being targeted by this sophisticated surveillance technology suffices to hinder probing reporting of sensitive topics, and its unlawful deployment must be stopped, for it threatens our collective right to be informed.”