Journalist Anna Clark On the Lessons to Learn from Flint

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Clark about researching and writing her book “The Poisoned City.”

Anna Clark
Anna Clark

It’s been five years since a state emergency manager switched Flint’s water supply to the Flint river, beginning what became one of the worst environmental contamination crises in Michigan’s history.

This summer, the WDET Book Club and Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson are hosting a series of conversations about the Flint Water Crisis. The book club is a summer-long reading of Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha’s book, “What the Eyes Don’t See,” speaking from the eyes and experiences of a pediatrician who first-hand saw the impact the lead poisoned water had on Flint’s children.  However, Dr. Mona is not the only person who thoroughly documented the chronicles of the Flint Water Crisis.

Anna Clark, a Detroit Journalist, is the author of  “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy.”

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

On Detroit Today, Clark talks about her book, her experiences throughout the water crisis, and even today how the state has yet to completely deliver safe, affordable drinking water in Flint and surrounding communities.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Clark about researching and writing “The Poisoned City.” “I really wanted to get at the deeper questions of how the city became vulnerable in the first place, and also connect it to what cities all over the country are dealing with when it comes to water.”

Clark says 2019 is a critical year when it comes to the response to the crisis and whether justice will be served for the people of Flint, and she hopes fellow journalists will pay attention.

“I do worry a little bit about how it’s faded from the media coverage, because this is a point where we’re either going to make a choice to deal with the deeper issues that led to the Flint Water Crisis or not,” she tells Henderson.

“I’m eager to read the book that comes out in 20 years to see if we’ve learned some of these larger lessons.”

Click on the player above to hear journalist Anna Clark, author of “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” talk with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today.


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.