First episode drops May 18; View Trailer Here
MAY 16, 2022 – NEWARK, NJ – NJ PBS, New Jersey’s public television network, announced that its news division, NJ Spotlight News, will launch its first podcast series, Hazard NJ, this week, cross-examining New Jersey’s Superfund sites and the impact of climate change. Hosted by journalist Jordan Gass-Pooré, Hazard NJ digs through contaminated sites, data and communities to get a clearer picture of the potentially volatile future of Superfund sites as environmental factors such as sea level rise and global temperature fluctuation continue to alter the planet’s landscape. Hazard NJ will be available through podcast platforms Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music , and more, with a trailer and more information posted on a landing page of the news division’s website, NJSpotlightNews.org/hazardnj.
“People know about Superfund sites. They know about climate change. But what happens when the two collide?” said NJ Spotlight News Sr. Managing Editor Jamie Kraft. “This podcast will expose fears and concerns, show the impact on communities neighboring Superfund sites and serve as a welcome addition to our ever-expanding news-gathering portfolio that covers all of New Jersey and serves its residents’ creative content on multiple platforms. Our mission is to provide in-depth storytelling that impacts our lives, our families and our local communities.”
New Jersey has more Superfund sites per capita than any other American state, 114 in all. From the Meadowlands to Ringwood to Bridgewater, Gass-Pooré travels across the Garden State to assess the current condition of Superfund sites, the way in which they affect the residents living around them and solicit expert opinions about the sites’ futures. In all cases, environmental and human challenges are potentially exacerbated by the threats of a changing climate.
“These sites have layered, complex issues,” said Gass-Pooré. “Our goal with this series is to dissect the physical and cultural components of these places, weigh what’s at stake, from public health to political ramifications, with an eye on mapping out their future.”
One episode analyzes the Diamond Alkali plant in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ. In the mid-20th century, it became a primary producer of the components for Agent Orange. Today, it’s amidst a clean-up, but residents are facing contamination through intensifying storms and pollution in the adjacent Passaic River.
“As with some other sites we’ll visit in this series, Newark’s situation extends beyond the Superfund site itself and delves into environmental justice issues,” said Gass-Pooré. “There are a lot of people questioning why the plant was built here in the first place and wondering what can be done to prevent other communities from being exposed to its residual effects.”
Upcoming Hazard NJ episodes, with more to come:
· Episode One: American Cyanamid – Bridgewater, May 18
· Episode Two: Diamond Alkali – Newark, June 1
· Episode Three: Ringwood Mines – Ringwood June 15
· Episode Four: Hackensack River – Meadowlands, June 29
NJ Spotlight News is an award-winning multiplatform news organization that provides reporting from across all 21 counties in New Jersey and beyond through a weeknight newscast, NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi on NJ PBS, a robust website, social media platforms, daily newsletters and community engagement events. Learn more at NJSpotlightNews.org.
Support for Hazard NJ is provided by Peril and Promise, a public media reporting initiative covering the human stories of climate change and its solutions, with major funding provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise