Renowned Network News Producer For CNN, ABC & CBS, Now Works As a Freelance PR Consultant, Greets Returning Troops & Collects G.I. Joes!

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40 year-old PR consultant and former network television producer, Carter Yang, poses alongside a US Navy fighter plane strapped to the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York City. Yang worked 18 1/2 years for CNN, ABC and CBS News producing stories on aviation, transportation and homeland security. Today, Yang freelances his talents, welcomes troops returning from overseas, lives with his family in Washington, D.C. and collects—GIjOEs! (All photos courtesy of Carter Yang, exclusively for The Joe Report)

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Yang waits as astronaut Jim Reilly gets his microphone adjusted prior to a STS-121 “Return to Flight” CBS News broadcast. Yang produced the segment LIVE from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Photo: Carter Yang)

Former TV “News Hound” Now Searching For 1:6 Scale GIjOEs

By Mark Otnes, 7-6-2014
Editor, The Joe Report

Carter Yang loved the high-pressure life of a network TV news producer. During his 20-year tenure in the profession, he’s written, covered and produced countless news stories for CNN, ABC and most recently, CBS News. While he’s not an on-camera personality or anchorman, Yang’s commanding role as producer has nonetheless made him very well-known in his field. And, as might be expected, his high-profile job also put him in contact with famous aviators and heroes of the U.S. space program. Carter works primarily in Washington, D.C., but he’s also been sent to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida (NASA), to the scene of various aircraft disasters and wherever else the day’s news requires. He’s even ridden aboard Air Force One! Clearly, traveling around the world and reporting on history-making events is exciting. But heads up, Joe fans… What really gets Carter’s adrenaline flowing is— GIjOE!

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This impressive array of glass display cases from IKEA reveals Yang’s collection spans many generations, from vintage ’60s figures to ’90s Classic Collection and beyond. Superb! (Photo: Carter Yang)

Fortunately, we were able to catch up with the hard-charging Yang recently, and he kindly consented to the following brief interview about his exciting life, career and (of course) die-hard interest in collecting “America’s Movable Fighting Man.” Enjoy!

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Yang with Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, in the CBS News Washington Bureau, 2010. (Photo: Carter Yang)

Interviewing  (and Collecting!) Real American Heroes

TJR: Thanks so much for taking time out today for this interview, Carter. You’re quite well-known already, but for those readers of The Joe Report who may not have met or heard of you, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living. It’s all so fascinating!

CY: “I’m flattered and I’m happy to have this opportunity to share my love of GIjOE with you and your readers! I love The Joe Report! I was born in New York City, but have lived in the Washington, DC area since 1995. I’m a forty-year-old freelance public relations consultant and a former network television news producer. I’ve worked in television news for nearly 20 years, first at CNN, then at ABC News, and then at CBS News, where I was the network’s Aviation and Transportation Producer.

In that role, I produced numerous transportation-related stories for the ‘CBS Evening News‘ and other broadcasts. I’ve covered everything from presidential campaigns to plane crashes to Space Shuttle missions for CBS News and, as a lifelong military aviation enthusiast, I’ll never forget the first time I flew on Air Force One while covering the White House with ABC News in the mid-’90s.”

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Yang sits “on set” as he helps check an on-camera position in preparation for a 2006 “remote broadcast” from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. (Photo: Carter Yang)

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Out of their boxes and on display— Yang’s extensive collection of GIjOE action figures and related books, vehicles, etc., are all nicely arranged and displayed on shelves for all to see and enjoy. (Photo: Carter Yang)

TJR: Tell us about your interest in GIjOEs. When did you start collecting?

CY:I grew up playing with 3 3/4″ GIjOE figures, but I’ve been collecting the 12″ figures since Hasbro started making them again in 1991 and I’m proud to say I have nearly every one made since then, along with a handful from the ’60s and ’70s. I’ve loved 12″ Joes ever since my mother bought me a pair of footlockers and 3 vintage Joes at a flea market for just $60 when I was a kid. They quickly became my favorite toys.”

TJR: Cool! But why did GIjOEs become your “favorite toys?” What special meaning do they hold for you?

CY: “My father served in the US Marine Corps Reserves, I have many friends who have served in the military or are serving now, and my family and I volunteer with ‘Operation Welcome Home Maryland’, which greets service members returning from overseas deployments as they arrive at Baltimore Washington International. So I’ve always had immense respect and appreciation for our Armed Forces. That is why collecting GIjOE has always been such a passion for me.”

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Carter holds 5 year-old daughter, Elise, as they wait to greet returning U.S. soldiers during a recent “Operation: Welcome Home” event held in the Baltimore International Airport. (Photo: Carter Yang)

TJR: Could you tell us about one of your favorite stories or news events that you covered?

CY: “As for my favorite stories, one of them was certainly US Airways Flight 1549, the so-called, ‘Miracle on the Hudson,’ which was not a miracle at all, but rather a feat of brilliant airmanship by the plane’s pilots. It was an incredible aviation story. Most of the high-profile aviation stories I covered before and since were tragedies, but that was one with a happy ending. Here’s a link to the piece that I produced on the flight after CBS News obtained the air traffic control audio recordings from the flight a few weeks after the incident.

TJR: WOW. That was an amazing story. Did you ever meet the pilots of that flight?

CY: “Here’s a picture of me with First Officer Jeff Skiles attached and, although I never met with him in person, I later worked with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger after CBS News hired him as a consultant.”

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Yang and First Officer Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot of US Airways 1549 (the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight) at Reagan National Airport in 2009. (Photo: Carter Yang)

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This bunch of Classic Collection figures stands (or kneels) “at the ready” in Carter’s Joe Room. What a great line-up! (Photo: Carter Yang)

TJR: Just a few final questions: Do you ever go to GIjOE shows? That photo of you on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid reminded me of the national GIjOE convention held there years ago. Were you able to attend? And are you a member of any GIjOE clubs? I’m sure other fans in your area would LOVE to meet up with you in person!

CY: “I’m afraid not. I’ve always wanted to go to a Joe Con, but I’ve never managed to make one. I have been a member of the GIjOE Collectors Club in the past, and have ordered quite a number of items from their store, but my membership has lapsed and I’m not an active member at the moment.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Carter Yang for his generous cooperation and contributions to this article. Do you have a question for Carter about his collection, career or a specific news story? If so, please leave your comments HERE. Thanks!

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7 thoughts on “Renowned Network News Producer For CNN, ABC & CBS, Now Works As a Freelance PR Consultant, Greets Returning Troops & Collects G.I. Joes!

  1. Warren Edwards says:

    If I could have met this man when I returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, it would have been a huge honor. Thank you Mr. Yang for supporting us and GO JOE!!

  2. kneonknight says:

    Mr. Yang, that is a pretty stellar collection you’ve got going, and it is always satisfying to hear that a fellow collector has respect for and pride in our brave men and women in uniform. If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, look me up – I can usually be found swapping lies with other veterans at the local pub – and I’ll buy you as much beer as you can drink or enough to float the U.S.S. Enterprise, whichever comes first.

  3. Thanks very much, kneonknight! I’m really flattered and that sounds like a fun night. 🙂 And I love that you mentioned the Enterprise — That’s one of three carriers that I’ve had the privilege of visiting.

  4. Kathy Thorp says:

    Mr. Yang – thank you for supporting our efforts with Operation Welcome Home Maryland! We appreciate all the time you give in giving our servicemen a Hero’s Welcome, and for posting it for all to see. What a great help for us to spread the word.

    We continously need volunteers to let our military know that a nation supports their sacrifice. For those interested in coming to an event, check OWHMD.ORG. Be sure to check the event line prior to leaving for the airport, and to hear of unexpected events. 410-630-1555. If folks wish to help from afar, we could always use hand made cards for the snack bags.
    Sincerely,
    Kathy Thorp
    Founder OWHMD

    • Thanks for your kind words and thank you very much for what you do, Kathy! My family and I are proud to be just a small part of your organization’s efforts and we’re really trying to bring friends along whenever we can. Anyone out there thinking about going to an OWHMD, please go — I’m sure it won’t be your last.

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