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Investigative Reporting

Chicago Station Invests in Investigative Unit

wls_304Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Chicago ABC owned station WLS‘ investment in its investigative unit is good news for local television.

Feder says WLS chief investigative reporter Chuck Goudie “heads a franchise that has expanded its brand, doubled its personnel and elevated local TV to a new competitive level in recent months.”

“Our investigative team has been a hallmark of ABC 7 Eyewitness News, working incredibly hard to find stories important to our viewers,” Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director, said in a statement. “By expanding resources and adding a consumer focus, we are building on the I-Team’s strength of enterprise reporting.  I’m very proud of the quality work our I-Team contributes to our news product on a daily basis.” Read more

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Bert Case to Debut on WAPT

bert case_croppedLongtime Jackson, MS, anchor  Bert Case makes his return to ABC affiliate WAPT.

“Having one of Mississippi’s finest journalists join 16 WAPT News means we will serve our viewers better than ever,” WAPT GM Stuart Kellogg said in a statement. “I’ve known Bert for more than 30 years and I’m so excited that he is now on OUR team!”

Case started as news director at WAPT in 1970 before leaving for cross-town NBC affiliate WLBT in 1974. He left WLBT in January, months shy of his 40 year anniversary.

Case will do investigative reports for the station’s evening newscasts. He will also serve as consumer advocate.

Dave Savini Says He’s Been Given a ‘New Perspective’ After DUI

savini_cropped_WbbmWBBM investigative reporter Dave Savini has taken to social media to talk about his recent DUI arrest.

Savini wrote on his facebook page he’ll be back at work Monday and added in part, “Just when you think you are strong you find you are not completely that rock you tried so hard to be for so long; a poor choice, a weak moment, a mistake -suddenly you find yourself on a wayward journey fighting with vigor and arduous strides to get back to that safe stone path you once walked.”

The investigative reporter for the CBS owned Chicago station pleaded guilty to DUI Tuesday. He will have to pay $3,185 in fines and perform 200 hours of community service. He was initially charged with DUI, hit and run, child endangerment and battery after an accident in a Taco Bell parking lot in Naperville, IL. A special prosecutor dropped all charges but the DUI.

“This month I was given the gift of a new perspective,” wrote Savini. “One that reaps the reward of humility, gratitude, faith and through the healing power of a sincere apology, I may have even found a little grace along the way. ” You can read the entire posting after the jump. Read more

WISH Doubles Size of Investigative Unit

i-team-8-650x300Indianapolis CBS affiliate WISH has announced it has doubled the size of its investigative team with three new additions.

News director Steve Bray announced Karen Hensel has been named chief investigative reporter while adding WISH producer Doug Moon and photojournalist/editor Brett Bensley to the investigative team. The station also announced the hiring of investigative reporter Bennett Haeberle from WDRB in Louisville, KY.

“I-Team 8 has a long history of getting results, alerting viewers to issues impacting their family and uncovering information needed to keep them safe,” said Bray in a statement.  “We have a 52-week commitment to this to in-depth, detailed-style, investigative journalism.  It’s not only a strategy for our long term projects, but part of our daily editorial and content decisions.”

Steve Brown Returning to Buffalo Market as Investigative Reporter

stevebrown1-EditSteve Brown is coming back to Buffalo for a second stint with NBC affiliate WGRZ. This time he’ll be an investigative reporter.

“He’s really smart and he’s really tenacious and he fits our watchdog advocacy journalism perfectly,” WGRZ general manager Jim Toelllner told The Buffalo News media writer Alan Pergament.

Brown left Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW in 1998 to work for FOX News in its Chicago bureau. Before working at WKBW, he was a weekend anchor and reporter at WGRZ from 1990 until 1994. He has also worked at WTIC in Hartford, CT, and WWLP in Springfield, MA.

According to The Buffalo News, Brown left FOX News after cutbacks in its bureaus.

Chicago ABC Station Adds to I-Team

wls_knowles_croppedWLS has moved general assignment reporter Jason Knowles to investigative reporter.

“Jason is no stranger to incisive investigative reporting,” Jennifer Graves, VP and news director of the Chicago ABC owned station, said in a statement. “Jason is a tenacious reporter and knows how to dig up a good story.  He’ll be a valuable asset to the I-Team and will undoubtedly work well with Chuck Goudie, whose reputation for investigative journalism is outstanding.”

Knowles joins the station’s I-Team, led by Goudie, January 20.

Before coming to WLS, Knowles worked at WTVG in Toledo and WKAG in Hopkinsville, KY. He started working at WLS in 2004 as a special projects producer and was named general assignment reporter in 2009.

Two Investigative Reporters Leaving KJRH

lowry_knutson_kjrhPete Knutson and Michele Lowry are leaving Scripps’ Tulsa NBC station KJRH.

The two work on the station’s investigative franchise “Problem Solvers”

KJRH news director Susan D’Astoli told TVSpy, Knutson is taking a job in academia which will allow him more time to coach his son, who D’Astoli said is quite an athlete. “We hate to lose him,” said D’Astoli. “But we fully support his desire to be with family. Pete’s last day is actually today.”

Lowry will be with KJRH until the end of December. “She too has decided her priority is family, and being there for school, after school and extra-curricular activities,” said D’Astoli. “Again, we hate to lose Michele, but support her desire to be there for her children. ” Read more

St. Louis Man Dies Morning Before KSDK Airs Investigative Story About Him

ksdkSt. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK had to cancel plans to air an investigative report about a local contractor after the man died the morning before the story about him was supposed to air.

The Gannett owned station announced the death on its 10:00 p.m. news on Monday. “The man who was the subject of a “Five On Your Side” investigation scheduled to air tonight has been found dead in his Town and Country home,” read KSDK anchor Mike Bush. “Police say Jamie Hart, owner of Castle Rock Remodeling was found this morning. Out of respect for his family and colleagues, details of our story will air at a later time.”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Town and Country, MO, police said they found no signs of foul play and the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s office said Hart didn’t die of a heart attack and had no signs of trauma on his body.

Two years ago Hart, 40, lost a suit he brought against the Better Business Bureau of Greater St. Louis for libel and tortious interference, claiming the “BBB manipulated its standards, treated it differently than other business, and insincerely and maliciously gave it a “C” rating, rather than the higher rating it claims it deserved.”

The station wouldn’t comment on the story’s content. A station spokesperson referred TVSpy to the on-air statement and added the report would be aired sometime in the future.

Investigative Reporter Jace Larson Joins KPRC

Larson_croppedJace Larson has joined Houston NBC affiliate KPRC as an investigative reporter.

While Larson told fans about his new job on facebook, he also addressed rumors about why he left Denver’s KUSA, “Someone started a rumor at the federal agency I investigated Friday. The rumor is that I got fired for doing the story about a taxpayer funded trip to Vegas. I thought you would enjoy knowing that.”

Before working at KUSA, Larson had worked at Tulsa, OK, and Quincy, IL.

[Mike McGuff]

KUSA Airs Child Abuse Story Despite Threat of Criminal Charges

kusa_hhs_304Denver NBC affiliate KUSA went ahead with a story about Denver’s Department of Human Services handling of an alleged case of child abuse despite warnings from a city attorney the station could face criminal charges for doing so.

The story, reported by Chris Vanderveen, involves a Denver couple who had their children taken away from them in 2009 after the kids were found dirty and unable to communicate. This year, that same couple had four children taken away from them after they too were found unable to communicate and living in dirty conditions.

KUSA interviewed the original case worker who claims in the report, his concerns about the couple were ignored.

On its website, the station posted the story with anchor Kyle Clark saying, “When we started asking questions of a Denver Human Services handling of a high profile child abuse case we expected, at the very least, a call back. What we did not expect was to receive not a phone call, but a letter from that agency’s attorney warning us that we risked criminal prosecution if we aired an interview with one of their former case workers. Tonight, we have chosen to air that interview.” You can watch the story after the jump. Read more

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