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What I Do #1: Dawn Gandhi

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Victim advocate and podcaster Dawn Gandhi tells us about her work.

Note: This post originally appeared on Explaining Crime, a Substack newsletter.

What I Do is a weekly Explaining Crime series that features a single creator in the crime content space and their answers to a set series of questions about what they do. What I Do comes out Wednesdays at 1 p.m., E.S.T.

I define the “crime content space” fairly broadly, including crime news, narrative nonfiction, investigative journalism, academia, and a lot of what gets called true crime. I plan to feature a wide variety of people, including academics, crime reporters, podcasters, authors, advocates, YouTubers, and more.

The idea is to share and spread ideas about the different ways people are doing this kind of work and tips for how to do it.

This week, I’m featuring Dawn Gandhi, a victim advocate and podcaster.


What I Do: Dawn Gandhi

Location: United States

What do you do?

I’m a victim advocate and the writer, producer, and host of Method & Madness (a true-crime podcast). 

I cover unsolved cases as well as closed cases that were impacted by systemic injustice. Injustice doesn’t just mean that a killer walks free; Injustice can also mean that a case is handled with bias based on the victim’s gender, race, social status, etc.

Who is your audience? 

Listeners all over the globe who are interested in getting to the truth in true crime. 

What are the most useful tools in your work? 

Resources for victims’ family members, resources for survivors, newspaper archives, police reports, and medical reports.

Who or what are the most useful sources of information in your work? 

Family members are often the biggest advocates for their loved ones’ cases. The information they provide is invaluable. 

What’s your process? 

Whether shedding light on injustice or advocating for a cold case, my mission is to begin with the victim in mind. 

Cases often come to me through a listener reaching out to me to request that I cover an unsolved case that they’ve been following for years. When I do select cases independently, I focus on global cases that I’d like to give more coverage. 

I’m honored when a family member of a victim reaches out to me directly to request that I cover their story. From there, I gather information and determine how to best represent the victim and their loved ones. Working with grieving family members is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly, and honoring them is paramount.

Each victim’s story is told with empathy and with a purpose. Being the voice for a victim who can no longer speak for themselves, advocating for a missing person, or encouraging listeners to take action are just some of the motivations behind each episode of Method & Madness.

I often interview victims’ loved ones because nobody can tell their story better than they can. I’ve featured other advocates, private investigators, and detectives on the show as well.

For each episode, I put hours into researching, putting together a timeline of events, and writing a detailed script to ensure that my content is based in fact, never sensationalized.

Next comes the reviewing of my work for accuracy- facts matter! All sources are listed on my website for listeners to learn more information about each case.

Each episode contains carefully selected details that set the tone for the circumstances surrounding the case. I might choose a song that evokes the era the victim grew up in or read a passage from their favorite poem.

Recording, editing, publishing, and marketing the episode completes my end of the process.

Each episode of Method & Madness brings the listener into immersive storytelling and ends with a call to action. A call to action can be as simple as asking listeners to join a Facebook group for more information on the case or reaching out to lawmakers on a victim’s behalf.

How do you distribute or otherwise share your work?

My podcast is hosted on Spotify for Podcasters and is available on all podcast platforms.

Listeners can find more information on the website Method & Madness Podcast ( and my social media platforms:

X @MethodPod 

Instagram @MethodandMadnessPod

Facebook Method & Madness Podcast

TikTok MethodandMadnessPod

What’s something you wish people understood about crime, justice, or another related topic? 

The first few hours of an investigation can make or break a case. If not investigated thoroughly, carefully and without prejudice, a new case can become a thirty-year-old cold case. Police bias, inexperienced investigators, and inefficient report-taking can shape the trajectory of a case. This often results in survivors feeling they’re alone in the fight to advocate for their loved ones

Why do you do this work? 

Before starting this work, I never imagined how much work families have to do in advocating for these cases. There is no guidebook on how to be a family member of a homicide victim. They’re grieving their loved ones, bearing the tremendous weight of losing someone to violence, and navigating how to move forward. They’re chasing down and following up with law enforcement, lawyers, and lawmakers. They’re trying to build a social media following to get more eyes on their loved one’s case. I want to help those families get the answers they deserve.

Victims matter.  They were human beings with a future ahead of them. They binge-watched Netflix and waited in line at Starbucks. They were daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, friends, husbands, wives.  

What was your path to doing this? 

As a child, two of my relatives were victims of violent crime. I became curious about the psychology behind violent crime, which led me to study Criminal Justice in college. From there, I ended up in the corporate world but eventually felt that I was being pulled in another direction. Having consumed a ton of true crime content, I knew I wanted to tune into how injustice can affect so many victims and families. I wanted to shed light on the many unsolved cases around the world and the cases that end up ignored and why.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out who wants to do what you do? 

Know your purpose and be consistent. Ask yourself, “Why am I covering this case?” 

Put out quality content and network with other podcasters that have a similar show. The listeners will come.

What book, podcast, documentary, or anything else would you recommend to people reading this? 

My answer may sound cliche since so many people have this book on their shelves, but in the late ’90s, I read “Mindhunter” by John Douglas. He is a retired FBI profiler who is known for writing on how to hunt down serial killers, but his work stood out to me for always speaking so kindly about the victims of violent crime.

A must-see documentary is “Abducted in Plain Sight.”  It’s not an easy watch, but it’s an important one as it delves into how even loved ones can fail a victim.

As far as podcast recommendations, one of my favorites is “Criminal” hosted by Phoebe Judge. The cases covered are on a wide spectrum from wholesome and uplifting to bizarre and unknown. 

Who would you like to see answer these questions? 

I’d love to read answers from other victim-focused creators. 

Eric Carter-Landin is a dear friend and the host of the podcast True Consequences. Eric has been advocating for his baby brother Jacob who was murdered 36 years ago. He covers cases from New Mexico and is a wonderful human being. 

Another dear friend of mine is Jolynn Rice. She’s a victim advocate and the founder of Cold Case Advocacy. Jolynn is dedicated to raising funds and writing new laws for victims whose cases have gone “cold”. The research she has done and the resources she provides families of victims is incredibly helpful.

What haven’t I asked you about that you’d like to add?

I want victims’ loved ones to know that there are advocates & justice-seekers out here, doing this work for a purpose. You don’t have to be alone in this fight.

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