Gizmodo, one of the internet’s most-read technology sites, is making its first foray into podcasting with an investigative podcast series “The Gateway.” The six-part series, which debuts today, takes an in-depth look at a new brand of spiritual guru, Teal Swan, who has leveraged social platforms to draw in followers with her hypnotic self-help videos aimed at people who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Teal insists her therapy saves lives, but her critics say Teal’s death-focused dogma is dangerous. Gizmodo reporter Jennings Brown and senior producer Jessica Glazer traveled from rural Utah to the forests of Costa Rica, with extensive access to Teal and her inner circle, to understand Teal’s teachings and investigate the deaths of some of her followers.
“In ‘The Gateway’ Jennings and Jessica explore a new kind of spiritual community taking root online and how a powerful, hypnotic, trauma-focused internet guru is impacting lives in strange and troubling ways. It’s a story about how internet influence can translate to real-world consequences,” said Gizmodo Editor-in-Chief Kelly Bourdet. “The story took twists and turns we could have never imagined, and the result is a compelling look at what people are seeking when they look to the internet for spiritual help and how dangerous that help might ultimately be.”
The first episode of “The Gateway” was released today, May 30, and is available now via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio, with subsequent episodes premiering every Wednesday. Stitcher premium members will get access to new episodes a week in advance.
Jennings Brown is the host of The Gateway and a senior reporter and editor for Gizmodo, where he covers technology, internet culture, and religious movements. Previously, he was an editor for Esquire magazine and Popular Mechanics magazine. His work has also appeared in New York magazine, The Daily Beast, Deadspin, and Racked.
Jessica Glazer is senior producer of The Gateway. She is an independent podcast and multimedia producer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR and FiveThirtyEight, among others.
“The Gateway” was produced in conjunction with Pineapple Street Media. Mandana Mofidi serves as the executive director of audio for Fusion Media Group and executive producer of “The Gateway” along with Gizmodo editor-in-chief Kelly Bourdet.
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