Daughter of bombing victim to report on execution

Wednesday, April 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The people watching reporter Carla Wade on ``Good Morning Arkansas'' probably don't know about her father.

They will by May 16, when the man responsible for his death is to be executed.

Carla Wade will be on camera outside the prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to die for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed her father, Johnny Wade, and 167 others. He was convicted and sentenced to die by a Denver jury.

She isn't worried about her own emotions; McVeigh dying doesn't mean anything to her, she said.

``It was over and done with six years ago. The hard part has been trying to put this behind us,'' she said Tuesday.

But in online journalism forums, some have questioned Wade's objectivity, and the station's motivation for putting her on the air during the execution of the man responsible for her father's death.

Wade, 27, said she requested the assignment because she could bring a perspective to the story that no one else could.

In the three days leading up to McVeigh's execution, the station plans to air a series of interviews Wade has been working on with survivors and relatives of victims of the blast.

``It was a very unique situation, one I haven't faced in more than 20 years in this business,'' said Bob Steel, news director at KATV, an ABC affiliate in Little Rock.

``We had thought about sending another reporter to cover the execution and then we decided she would have the access, understanding and insight no other reporter would have,'' he said.

In the six years since her father's death, Wade has graduated from the University of Oklahoma, worked at two television stations and built a career reporting the morning news in Little Rock.

While working in Lawton, Okla., she said she frequently did television reports related to the bombing and no one questioned her objectivity. ``It was different in Oklahoma because there everyone was somehow affected by the bombing,'' she said.

Wade was back in Oklahoma this month to cover the anniversary of the April 19, 1995, federal building bombing, and she interviewed her mother and people who were injured in the blast.

Her mother, Joannie Wade, talked to her for the first time about her fears of growing old without her husband, who was an engineer for the Federal Highway Administration.

She said her family isn't interested in watching McVeigh die.

``There couldn't be adequate punishment for what was done,'' Carla Wade said Thursday. ``The way the death penalty is administered, it is all very sanitized. When you think about the brutal, suffering, painful way that many victims of the bombing had to die, it (McVeigh's death) is just, but is it fair?''

The interviews she is preparing for KATV have been building in her mind for years, she said.

``If I were a dancer, I would probably want to choreograph a dance expressing my feelings. If I were an artist I probably would have painted a picture,'' she said. ``I'm a broadcaster and I can do two things well: I can write and I can talk. Part of what I do is a form of self-expression.''