Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Associate News Director

Jessica Bloustein Marshall is a Capital Region native with a diverse background in multimedia news reporting and production. After earning a Masters degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University, she served as the Capital District Bureau Chief for WAMC, followed by stints at Newsweek and Time, Inc, MTV News, Mental Floss and Backstage. She returns to WAMC as Associate News Director.

She’s also a decorated competitive figure skater, writer, choral singer and mom.

Ways to Connect

A sign points the way to the UFO Conference in Kingston
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Are UFOs and alien encounters the stuff of science fiction, or are we really not alone out there in the universe?

Cherry Tree Deer

Symbols of nature takes various forms in the myths and legends around the world. But some of them… have common themes. Today Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk joins us as we explore one of the most common ones in a tale from the Catskills in New York’s Hudson Valley.

  The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cancels a planned appearance in Plattsburgh, our political observer Alan Chartock weighs in on the possibility of legislative pay raises, and we’ll have a look at the progress of some of the state’s economic development programs. 

The entrance to Jackson's Garden on the campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

  A moonlit garden on the grounds of Union College in Schenectady plays host to one of the oldest ghost tales in the country. Forbidden love. Blind, murderous rage. And a lost soul. We explore the tragic tale of Alice Van Der Veer in this episode of Listen with the Lights On.

Podcast: The Hauntings Of West Hall

Jul 17, 2016
West Hall, RPI
Danski14 / Wikimedia Commons

Visit any college or university campus in the world, and you’re likely to find at least one tale of a ghostly presence amid the hallowed halls. West Hall is the oldest building at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. And it’s also the most haunted.

  In this episode, we bring you another terrifying tale from the heart of New York's Hudson Valley. Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk joins us again with a story of ghosts, a haunting and the horrors of indentured servitude in Colonial times.


Mt. Greylock is the tallest natural point in Massachusetts. At 3,491 feet above sea level, it rises above the Berkshire county town of Adams, bisected by a portion of the Appalachian trail. The peak and its historic monument are constantly shrouded in mist and fog, and often beset by unpredictable weather. And the quiet summit possesses mystical qualities that have inspired great American writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Well now, it seems, it has inspired a very famous British writer—and now plays a very pivotal role in the expanding universe of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

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An urban legend is a popular story passed around that's allegedly true, but can't quite be confirmed. It's the kid who ate PopRocks and drank soda and his stomach exploded. It's the unfortunate tweeners who turned the lights out at their sleepover and called into the mirror for Bloody Mary. Or the poor sap who woke up sans kidneys in a bathtub full of ice. We've all heard them, and probably even told a few ourselves. They're modern folklore. Contemporary legends. In this episode of Listen With The Lights On, we explore an urban legend in Albany, New York, with local lore expert Maeve McEneny.

The Ghostly Rower
World's End, 1992 woodcut print. By Vic Schwarz, Courtesy of the Vic Schwarz family through the Putnam County Museum & Foundry School Museum, Cold Spring, New York

  If you've ever taken a trip down the shores of the Hudson River, no doubt at one point you've witnessed its hallmark mists rising from the waters. They have a ghostly quality about them, and not surprisingly there is an abundance of lore based on apparitions witnessed within them. We bring back Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk on this episode of Listen With The Lights On, who will tell us one such tale—the tale of the ghostly rower.

picture of scary story tellers
Jesse Wagstaff | Flickr

Is the devil in the details? On this episode of Listen With The Lights On, we explore how to capitalize on basic human fear to compose a creepy narrative, examine scary tropes, share our favorite spooky reads and try to come up with a spine-tingling tale of our two sentences or less. Novelist and writing instructor Barbara Chepaitis, author of "The Amber," joins us. 

 (Airs 5/27/16) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: amid questions over a federal probe, a board controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted to approve over $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project, our political observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the Buffalo Billion vote, and health advocates gather at the state capitol in Albany to call for closure of what they call an “e-cigarette loophole."

A doll in the upstairs room in Ten Broeck Mansion.
Patrick Garrett/WAMC

On the last episode of Listen with the Lights On, Maeve McEneny of the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau was giving us a tour of Albany’s Ten Broeck Mansion. We ended in the foyer in Part I, looking out the imposing front doors. Now we’re going upstairs, where many a psychic and ghost hunter has claimed lies the epicenter of supernatural activity in the almost 230-year-old house. 

Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany sits just north of the city's downtown. Views from the historic home's gardens and from its elegant windows look out over row houses, industrial buildings and US Route 787. But it wasn't always this way. In 1789, when it was built by Abraham Ten Broeck, it was farmland as far as the eye could see to the north, south and west, and a casual glance from an east-facing window would produce an unimpeded view of the Hudson River. There's a lot of history here, and a lot of spirit—literally. On this episode of Listen with the Lights on, we take a peek inside with Maeve McEneny. 

(Airs 4/29/16) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: New York City mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo appear to be at odds again, this time as the U.S. Attorney is investigating de Blasio’s fundraising tactics. Anti-pipeline activists are putting pressure on the state to stop a natural gas pipeline expansion after two other pipeline plans were dropped. Our political observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on the effect of the New York primaries on the presidential race, and we’ll take a look at efforts to fight the opioid addiction crisis in upstate New York.

Ten Broeck Mansion
Albany County Historical Association

A mansion. A portrait. A haunting? Dive into this week's edition of Listen With The Lights On, where we talk to Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau Education Coordinator Maeve McEneny about lore in Albany, New York, and the mysterious happenings at the colonial estate at Ten Broeck Place.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law legalizing Mixed Martial Arts bouts in the state, making it the last state in the nation to remove prohibitions on professional fights. The new law reverses the ban placed on the bouts in 1997 amid concerns over the safety of fighters.

Picture of the modern day home where Union Army Officer Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris resided.
Historian’s Office, Town of Colonie.

President Abraham Lincoln's connection to Capital Region is more than just fairy tale, in fact, he has quite a few. One of which is the story of New York Senator Ira Harris' daughter Clara, and her husband, Union Army Officer Henry Rathbone. On the night of April 14th in Ford's theater, the two were the esteemed guests of Abraham Lincoln...

The Imps of Donder-Berg
Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley/Todd Atteberry

We delve into the story of the Heer of Donder-Berg, a story from Jonathan Kruk, loreteller from the Hudson Valley. 

Beast of Whitehall

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or myth? Seth Breedlove and his new film, Beast of Whitehall, premiers in Whitehall, New York on April 2nd. We explore the idea of the mythical creature in the pilot episode of our soon-to-launch podcast, Listen With The Lights On

Chhitup Lama at WAMC
Robin Pellegrino

An estimated 10 percent of the population of Nepal lives with a disability. But there are remote regions of the country where access to healthcare, education and vocational support for those individuals is lacking or nonexistent. One young man with a visual impairment is trying to change that—Chhitup Lama has set up a unique non-profit that brings support services and education to children with disabilities living in rural parts of his country.

Kids at South End Children's Café
Jessica Bloustein Marshall/WAMC

At the hottest new restaurant in Albany’s South End, the lights are low, but the ambiance is lively.  

The tables are dressed with fresh linen, elegant water carafes and simple floral centerpieces. The décor is DIY trendy. A glittering chandelier made from silverware and wire catches the light as dozens of patrons enjoy meals made with organic, local ingredients.

Joachim Huber / Wikimedia Commons

From lions and tigers to snow leopards and panthers, “big cats” are defined by those who study them as wild cats with the ability to roar. Wildlife biologist Boone Smith has wrangled an impressive number of them.

Hunter Harrison / WAMC

Ninety-six years ago, Henry Johnson returned to the city of Albany an unsung hero following his service in World War I. Yesterday, the medal he earned for his bravery followed suit. 

Henry Johnson’s gleaming Medal of Honor now stands on display in the War Room at the state capitol.

Patrick Madden
Jessica Bloustein Marshall/WAMC

Patrick Madden emerged victorious in a race full of twists and turns. Standing on a chair Tuesday night, he spoke to a packed bar of supporters downtown.

Last week, President Barack Obama said the U.S. would accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the war in their home country by 2016. Jill Peckenpaugh, director of the Albany field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), says the Capital Region is ready to support an influx of potential refugees or migrants, should they come. 

  (Airs 8/7/15) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State government and politics. On this week’s Gazette: The special election to replace the State Senate’s second-most powerful Republican could tip the balance of power, our political observer Alan Chartock speculates on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s possible future as a Vice Presidential candidate, and we’ll have state reaction to President Obama’s climate plan.

(Airs 7/31/15) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: two more state lawmakers have been ousted by corruption convictions, what does this mean for ethics reform efforts? Our political observer Alan Chartock shares his thoughts on current infrastructure projects, and we'll take a look at the continued fallout from the prison escape that captivated the region.

The Audi A7 parked by the side of the road on the test track in East Greenbush, NY.
Jessica Bloustein Marshall

The rate of traffic crashes in the United States is about three times higher at night than in the daytime. Visibility is a large contributing factor to that statistic. But a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor is leading a study in the Capital Region that may revolutionize the way we drive at night. 

When you think of classic martial arts films, iconic names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li come to mind. But in today's martial arts movie-making universe, actor Byron Mann is the new it-guy. He’s a prolific actor, well-known for his martial arts prowess and memorable fight scenes. He hails from Hong Kong, and earned his stripes in films like Street FighterRise of the Legend, The Man with the Iron Fists and more recently on television in CW’s Arrow. Currently, he has signed on to play a Chinese power broker in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, an epic fictionalized drama about the building of America’s railroads—its fifth season premieres July 18th at 9/8 central. Mann has also taken on roles in the upcoming films Absolution starring Steven Segal and Vinnie Jones, and The Big Short, playing alongside the likes of Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale.

Jessica Bloustein Marshall/WAMC News

With developers in New York and Massachusetts preparing to break ground on casinos approved by voters and state-appointed commissions, and lobbying under way for more casinos in Connecticut to combat a loss of revenue they fear will come with new casinos in neighboring states, it’s all but certain that there will be a sharp rise in the need for casino employees in the region’s not-too-distant future.