Valley-Based Podcast Series Examines East Palestine Derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – A podcast made by three Mahoning Valley residents takes an in-depth look at the East Palestine derailment and the U.S. rail industry.

“Derailment Disaster: Crisis in East Palestine,” a seven-part documentary series podcast, is the work of Jarid Watson, Priscilla Watson and Josh Miely, all of Struthers. It attempts to expose the consequences of cutting corners and prioritizing profits.

The podcast, which launched Friday, takes listeners on the Feb. 3 journey of a Norfolk Southern train transporting hazardous chemicals that derailed in East Palestine.

Through interviews, first-hand accounts and expert analysis, the podcast uncovers the effects of the derailment and industry-wide negligence. It delves into the U.S. rail industry’s consolidation and the lack of safety regulations.

The podcast also examines the decision to execute a controlled burn of five rail cars full of vinyl chloride a few days after the derailment, resulting in a toxic plume that hovered over the region.

“What listeners will find compelling is the astounding level of control the railroad industry has over the economy, while local and state governments have no legal power to protect their citizens,” said Watson, who is the co-host and co-creator of the podcast. “As residents of the surrounding East Palestine area, living just 15 miles away, and as career content creators and multimedia journalists, we uncovered shocking evidence of industry-wide negligence and learned that derailments happen more often than one might think.”

Miely is a 1998 Struthers High School graduate, and Jarid Watson is a 1999 SHS graduate. Priscilla Watson has been a resident of Struthers since she and Jarid, her husband, moved there in 2020. Jarid Watson also has family ties in East Palestine.

“Last year, Jarid and Priscilla [Watson] started their boutique media company, Calliope Media, in Struthers,” Miely said. “This is their first big project.”

Miely is also president of a local 501(c)(3) called Struthers Unleashed, which will make its public debut May 20 at City Clean Up Day in Struthers. 

“Our goal is to bring a dog park to our city,” Miely said.

“Derailment Disaster: Crisis in East Palestine” can now be heard on Omny Studio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever podcasts are streamed.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.