(201) Magazine questions for newscasters:

(201) Magazine questions for newscasters:

(201) Magazine questions for newscasters:

Jen Maxfield

Age: 43

Originally from: Tenafly

Currently live in: Bergen County

Family members/ages: Scott (husband) and three children— Trevor 13 , Vivian 12, and Evelyn 9

First media employer: On air: WIVT News Channel 34 in Binghamton, NY (2000)
Off air: CNNfn in NYC (1998)

Current employer: NBC NY

Number of years covering news: 20

Area of specialty/beat: New Jersey and feature stories on the News 4 NY morning show, Today in New York

Volunteer/charitable work, including most current: I have served on the Board of Trustees for the Center for Food Action and have volunteered for that wonderful organization since I was 16 years old. I am currently a Vice President on the Elisabeth Morrow School Board of Trustees and I also serve on the Board of Visitors at Columbia College, where I attended college. I also volunteer with the Bergen Family Center, Women’s Rights Information Center, and Jewish Women International. Most recently, my family and I provided fresh produce for people receiving emergency food at the Center for Food Action and we also assembled and donated 400 care packages for health care workers at Hackensack University Medical Center.


What tips do you have for getting a good interview?
I prefer to speak with people before the interview, to get to know them before the camera starts rolling. I love to talk, so I can engage on just about any topic and I am genuinely curious to learn about other people’s lives and interests. I probably overuse the term “that’s so interesting,” but I actually mean it! I have been in this business for two decades and I have met thousands of people doing this job. My perspective and worldview have been shaped by my interactions, however big or small, with a diverse and fascinating cross-section of society.

Of all your interviews, which one is the most memorable to you, and why?
I have certainly been lucky enough to interview people whose names you would recognize, like Barack Obama (when he was still a Senator from Illinois) or John Legend. But the interviews that stay with me are generally those with people whose names you wouldn’t recognize, but who made a huge difference n someone’s life. The nurse who saved the man who lost his legs in the Staten Island ferry crash. The principal who installed a laundromat in his high school to help meet basic needs and let students focus on academics. The boy who saved his mother’s life with the Heimlich maneuver he had just learned in middle school. I think about those people for years after I report their stories, and they inspire me.

Do you get recognized on the street, and what do people usually say when they meet you?
In Bergen County, I am most often recognized not as a journalist, but as a member of the Maxfield family. I have five younger siblings and my parents and grandparents were always engaged volunteers in the community so it’s more likely that someone knows me through one of my relatives. I love it when people hear my last name and tell me they know my family. My grandfather, Allen Maxfield, was a substitute teacher after he retired and taught for decades in Glen Rock. He made a big impression and his former students always tell me they loved his Navy stories.

What have your biggest work-related challenges been since COVID-19 arrived?
This isn’t just a news story for us— we all live in the tri-state area and we and our families are just as exposed as the viewers. When we tell you about the number of people who are sick or who have died, we know some of them personally. I do feel it was important to go to work at 30 Rock, to present the news as we always have, and to give our viewers a sense of normalcy and calm. Being a local journalist, we always connect with the stories on some level because we live here too. But this one felt more visceral because it wasn’t like a major storm when you can see the damage and know if you have been hit or been spared. The virus is lurking and none of us can predict exactly what will happen next.

TV news is a collaborative business so it’s been hard to be working surrounded by fewer friends and colleagues. NBC NY moved me and some other members of our newsroom to another floor at 30 Rock so we could all spread out. While I missed seeing all of my friends in our main newsroom, it was definitely a smart move and kept us safe.

Before the pandemic, where were your favorite places to go in Bergen County, including restaurants?
My husband and I have been vegan for eight years so we love to support restaurants that have plenty of plant-based options. Grissini, Sofia, The Hill, Bennie’s, Veda, Baumgarts, Veggie Heaven, Cafe Angelique, Brasserie, and Playa Bowls all have fantastic options for us. Coming from a big family, we are always celebrating something so I love Keremo Cakes, La Promenade, and Sweet Avenue Bake Shop for cakes.

Where did you shop in Bergen before the pandemic?
I love supporting local boutiques. The smaller the store, the less overwhelmed I get by all of the choices! I love Hartly in Westwood for formal and work clothes and Reform in Cresskill for casual and workout gear. Shop Great Stuff is also terrific for casual clothes. For children’s clothes, I love Milk and Honey Babies, Marcia’s Attic for Kids, and Reform Kids. I have gotten beautiful jewelry from Robyn Leslie Jewelry and also Jamie Wolf.

Why did you choose to live in your town or general area of Bergen County?
When I was pregnant with my third child and my husband and I needed more space than our Hoboken apartment could provide, we started looking close to where I grew up in Bergen County. This area has so much going for it— we are close to our jobs and also the wonderful cultural centers of New York City. The area is international and attracts a diverse and open-minded population. We have made so many fantastic friends here and we cherish the true sense of community. I love the beauty of New Jersey and appreciate that I can go biking with my kids and also hiking along the Palisades or at the Tenafly Nature Center.

Once all the coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted, what are you looking forward to doing?
Being able to hug my parents is number one! We see them often but are trying not to get too close and potentially expose them. I also miss my siblings who live on the West Coast so I’m looking forward to when we are all comfortable flying again. And I am looking forward to getting together in larger groups of friends, whether it’s a big birthday dinner at a local restaurant or a huge party celebrating one of our children’s bar/bat mitzvahs. I also can’t wait for gyms to open again— I miss my treadmill workouts at JumaFit, boxing at TA Bodyshop, and hot yoga at Fireshaper Tenafly.