You turn on the local news and watch a story play out. But after it’s over, do you ever think about the subjects again? Does the reporter?
That’s the idea NBC New York reporter Jen Maxfield explores in her new book, More After the Break (Greenleaf Book Group Press), by reinterviewing the subjects of ten powerful news stories she covered during her career, many in her home state of New Jersey.
Well-known events like Hurricane Sandy are featured in the book alongside lesser-known but equally harrowing stories, like that of East Orange woman Tamika Tompkins, whose ex-boyfriend stabbed her 27 times in 2012. Miraculously, she survived and spoke to Maxfield on-camera from her hospital room. A startling new interview, conducted ten years later, appears in the book.
“I have found over the last 22 years reporting on people that certain stories I would keep returning to,” says Maxfield. “Sometimes I would even dream about people.” So she reached out. Although she’d initially spoken to many of these people amid tragedy, several subjects wanted to reconnect because, as Maxfield puts it, “they were appreciative someone still cared, appreciative I remembered them.”
Maxfield, who grew up in Tenafly and lives in Bergen County with her husband and kids, says it’s important for her to represent the people of New Jersey—by covering their lives and making her own life here.