Joe Dana is an anchor and watchdog investigative reporter for 12 News. During his 12 year career, Joe has won reporting awards in print and broadcasting, including two first-place awards from the Division Nine Society of Professional Journalists. He was the field reporter for a 2013 Emmy Award-winning 12 News Today newscast and a 2015 Emmy Award-winning special report on military healthcare.
Joe grew up in Glendale and is a fourth-generation Arizonan. As a teenager, Joe was already finding ways to cover news in the valley as a newspaper editor at Apollo High School in Glendale, and a youth reporter for The Arizona Republic. After high school, Joe attended the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in print and broadcast journalism at Brigham Young University, and worked for the Conservative News Service in Washington D.C. before joining the 12 News team.
Joe has covered issues ranging from education funding to capital murder trials. He's investigated polygamy in northern Arizona and immigration in southern Arizona. As a journalist, Joe believes his first priority is to hold politicians and power-brokers accountable for their actions.
Joe, his wife and two sons live in the northwest Valley. In his spare time, Joe is a volunteer mentor and an ambassador for the mentoring program, New Pathways for Youth. He is also an advocate for PTSD treatment of first responders in Phoenix.
About Me: I am a multi-media journalist, and a 1st amendment advocate.
Hometown: Glendale, AZ
City of Residence: Peoria
Your Heritage: Fourth generation Arizonan. Interesting side note: My father is “Mr. Little Arizona 1947” (he was 5 years-old). My mother was “Miss Senior Arizona 2014” (age 68).
Current Position: Multi-Media watchdog reporter/ Sunday evening anchor
When you joined 12 News: 2001
College Graduated From: Brigham Young University College of Mass Communications, Spanish minor degree
Interests/Hobbies: I like to snowboard, hike, read, draw, rummage through other people’s old stuff (antiques, magazines, anything) and I work out in order to support my Oreo Blizzard addiction.
Favorite Music: Classical, Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Radiohead, The National, New Chums
Favorite Song: The Sound of Silence
Favorite Book(s): Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, Religions of the World, Lewis M. Hopfe, Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, My name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok, Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
Favorite Quote(s): "Will journalists, publishers and broadcasters summon the courage of their convictions and commit themselves to doing the work on which our democracy depends?”
Favorite Food(s): Mom's Hawaiian chicken. Mexican food.
Favorite Color(s): Forest Green
Favorite Travel Destination: Greer, AZ.
Pets: A 90 pound golden retriever named Waldo who thinks he's a lap dog.
Children: Two boys.
Hidden Talent: I make killer salsa.
Favorite Sports Teams: D-Backs, Suns, AZ. Cardinals, ASU Devils (I'm a homer all the way).
Favorite Moment in Broadcasting: Many favorite moments. They all include covering stories about people who otherwise would not have a public voice.
Why you decided to work in TV: My decision to work in television news was cemented when I had the opportunity in college to interview World War II veterans about their experiences in combat. I felt privileged to serve as a conduit for communicating their stories to a broader audience.
Where else I have worked: Washington D.C., Flagstaff, Ariz.
First Story Reported: My first day on the job (one week removed from college) was September 11th, 2001. I reported on the local response of church goers who had gathered to pray. It was a deeply emotional morning for them and for me as a young reporter.
Your First Job: As a teen, I started a home address curb painting business (15 bucks a curb, quality guaranteed!)
What People Would Never Guess About You: I'm the grandson of a Mexican illegal immigrant (in a roundabout way). My great-grandfather (on my mother's side) helped begin a colony of Mormon polygamists in Mexico. In 1917 my grandfather, Waldo Huber was born there. Five years later, the entire family (including my great grandfather's two wives) crossed back into the United States, afraid they might be discovered by authorities because polygamy was illegal. They literally cut a barbwire fence near Douglas, AZ and eventually settled in Mesa, AZ.
What you love about living in Arizona: The lakes, the sun, and the opportunity to cover stories in a community where I grew up.
Your Biggest Pet Peeve: The perception that journalists are biased or driven by agendas.
Your Prized Possession: My infielder's baseball glove.
What I'm Passionate about: American History, Baseball, and Charity work with the nonprofit organization, Phoenix Youth at Risk.
Dream Vacation: The Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey
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