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November 16, 2018

Meet Joseph Wade

As an Associate Producer for MetroFocus, Joseph Wade pitches and produces stories for WNET’s award-winning public affairs program. “Producing stories that matter is my honor, as is helping my team take on the day-to-day duties and challenges that make our show run,” Joseph says. Read on to learn about Joseph’s experience in the military, the veterans-related stories he has produced for MetroFocus, and more.

Joseph Wade

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

I need more space to tell that story, but here is the short version. I heard about the position from a friend at CNBC. I was nearing the end of a freelance position with their specials team when some friends suggested that I apply for the position at MetroFocus.  I’m fortunate to be here. I love my career and my team. And for the record, I did send some chocolates to my friends at CNBC after I landed the job here to properly thank them!

You joined the Army National Guard at 17, eventually becoming a Search and Rescue Swimmer for the Navy. How has your experience in the military informed the person you are today?

“So others may live,” is the Search and Rescue Swimmers’ motto. It means that the moment they enter the water, rescue swimmers will do everything in their power to save a person in danger – including risking their own life. I try to keep that principle – the idea of helping others — in mind as I live my daily life.

Teamwork is also a significant part of the military experience. During our training, the team would go on day-long marches, and each person pointed out every route and change in terrain to the person behind us all the way down the line. That special brand of camaraderie is also a valuable skill to have in the workplace, especially when you when you work on a news program!

MetroFocus airs stories about veterans and their experiences year-round. Is there a recent or upcoming story that is a personal favorite?

That’s a tough one. I was granted a gift, recently: I was allowed to use my experience as a benefits counselor for underserved veterans in the city to put together a series on post-9/11 veterans for MetroFocus. Landing Jon Stewart to help us open the series was a strong move, but I’m also very excited about the story I captured on a shoot with Paws of War on Long Island, an organization that places shelter dogs with veterans suffering from the emotional effects of war. The veterans who work there have something truly special within them because they continue to serve others even though they are still on their own journey toward healing.

Going forward, I’d also like to get post-9/11 veteran, poet and playwright Maurice Decaul and Pulitzer Prize winner and Vietnam veteran Yusef Komunyakaa on the show to talk about their work regarding World War I. This is the year to look back on that war to see who we were then as a nation, and who we are now.

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

There are so many stories. I remember Mr. Rogers as a kid — who didn’t love his show? As an adult, I saw the video where he spoke to the Senate during a time when funding cuts for public television were looming. One of my favorite moments from his powerful speech is, “I end the program each day by saying, ‘You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There’s no other person in the whole world who is just like you, and I like you just the way you are.’”

Which three shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

MetroFocus, for sure. But it’s hard to pick out just three. Right behind my desk sits a whole team of people getting a great new show off the ground (Amanpour and Company), and there’s also great work being done by PBS NewsHour Weekend, too. But living in the NYC area, I’m a big fan of our arts programming. It’s an important part of the city’s culture. I’d also have to mention a great web series called First Person. We’d all do well to tune into that one.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I live in Bergen-Lafayette in Jersey City, and whether I’m going to Fiske Park in the Heights or to the Grind coffee shop in Communipaw, every place in Jersey City is better when I have my pup Brutus with me. He’s a 15-pound Chihuahua mystery mix – and he would say the dog park at Berry Lane Park is my favorite spot. But I think my tiny “backyard” where Brutus and my partner Loren often enjoy sitting around a small fire-pit with me is the best place in Jersey City.

What book are you currently reading?

This year, two books stand out. Sebastian Junger’s Tribe and Vietnam-Perkasie: A Combat Marine Memoir by W.D. Ehrhart. I’m taking suggestions for a new book to read, but I am planning on picking up a brilliant work of poetry called Sleepwalking Home by WNET’s own  Jennifer Poteet. I’m also looking forward to If I Don’t Make It, I Love You, which comes out this Spring. I’ll be first in line to get it. It’s going to be one of the most important books on the history of school shootings in the United States.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

Well, I do like to cycle a bit, but this hasn’t been my year for that. I am thinking about cycling tomorrow, and if I do, I’m going to ride the waterfront in the morning. I’ll probably be listening to Griz along the way. I love the way he works brass instruments into his electronic sound.




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