Editors' Note: Why We Re-Reported The Supervision Podcast
NHPR is rereleasing its podcast, Supervision, with new reporting and a new episode. Because this kind of re-release is uncommon, we want to lay out what we’ve changed and why.
Supervision is the story of a critical moment in the life of a man entangled with the incarceration system. Reported and hosted by Emily Corwin, the series follows Josh Lavenets, a man whose case is not uncommon: he’s poor, he’s been convicted of domestic assault, and he struggles with mental health disorders. He longs to be a good father and an upstanding citizen. When the New Hampshire Parole Board lets him out of prison on parole, both Josh - and the system that’s supposed to support him - are put to the test.
We originally released Supervision in May of 2019 with four episodes. At that time, we thought the reporting was done. But then a listener led Emily to new information about Josh - information she hadn’t previously been able to access. That tip led her to a substantial amount of additional reporting.
Our new reporting found a factual error in our original release (see below). We also learned that Josh had a more extensive history of domestic violence than we had previously understood. But on the whole, the new reporting did not contradict the original story we’d told.
However, it did expand that story.
The story we released in May 2019 was about why a man would thrive or fail on parole. Based on the reporting that came later - new documentation, sources willing to break their silence, and sources we had previously overlooked - Supervision was about something more. It was about survival itself after incarceration - and about how hard it can be for a reporter to get to the truth.
So we decided to retell the story - and to be transparent about our work. First, we created a fifth episode based on the new reporting. Second, we reframed the first four episodes, replacing the old context (life on parole) with some new context (survival and truth).
Here is a detailed list of the changes we made between 2019 and 2021:
- In Episode 1, we rewrote the opening monologue. We also added more context to Josh’s description of his assault on his ex-wife.
- In Episode 3, we added more context to Josh’s claims about his ongoing relationship with an ex-wife whom he had been convicted of assaulting.
- In Episode 4, we removed a bit of our own speculation about Josh’s cause of death. We also removed a factual error: Josh had a bedroom on the second floor of his step-parent’s house; his room was not in the basement, as we’d previously reported.
- We identified a few instances in the original release where Josh had misled Emily about his criminal record and/or downplayed the severity of his violent behavior. We addressed those false statements head-on in Episode 5.
- Finally, we dropped the podcast’s original tagline, “a life on parole,” and here and there, added new music and slightly rewrote a passage where we thought we could express an idea more clearly.
Shortly after we started reporting for the second time in 2020, NHPR removed Supervision from a few podcast platforms - an oversight we should have better clarified to listeners at the time. Supervision is now part of the Document podcast feed, where you can find other enterprise reporting from NHPR. If you want to hear the original version of the first four episodes, you can find them here: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4.
The Supervision editorial team is Emily Corwin, Reporter & Host; Jack Rodolico, Senior Producer; Erika Janik, Executive Producer; and Daniel Barrick, News Director.