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Investigative Reporting

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

Appeals Court Backs Former Milwaukee Reporter in Defamation Lawsuit

wtmj_304Former WTMJ reporter John Mercure, along with WTMJ and its parent company Journal Broadcasting have been cleared of defamation by a Wisconsin appeals court.

The suit sprung from Mercure’s investigation into a local wedding videographer named Angela Terry who was accused of not fulfilling her promise of delivering completed videos to the couples who paid for her service within the promised 1o-12 weeks.

The investigation from the Milwaukee NBC affiliate reporter included a scuffle between the reporter and the defendant caught on camera, claims by Mercure that the defendant was “facing criminal charges” and Mercure calling Terry a “scammer” and a “cheat.”

The Wisconsin Bar Association has the court’s ruling:

In Terry v. Mercure et al., 2012AP1682 (Oct. 15, 2013), a three-judge panel for the District I Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that that all alleged defamatory statements in question were either opinions are substantially true.

Defamation requires a false statement to be communicated in speech, conduct, or writing to a third-person, and the communication must harm the subject’s reputation. Read more

Detroit Reporter Shows Sometimes It Takes 12 Years to Get ‘Story of the Decade’

During last night’s 11:00 p.m. news on Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV, investigative reporter Kevin Dietz aired an open letter to Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Detroit mayor who was sentenced today to 28 years in prison for corruption.

On the surface, the letter plays out as the long saga of a corrupt politician who finally fell after his years of denials were countered by dogged investigation. But if you look deeper, you’ll see two things that seem to be disappearing in this era of shrinking newsrooms, the importance of reporting on politics and the luxury of time to tell the story.

“I am very lucky to work for a station that did not lose interest in what started out as a political story,” Dietz told TVSpy. “I was able to stay on the Kilpatrick story for 12 years. The station was willing to invest the time and money to give me the opportunity to become invested in the story.  It turned out to be our story of the decade.”

Dietz, who has worked at WDIV since 1993 added, “I was born and raised in Detroit and this is the only town I ever wanted to work in. I think you may go harder and dig deeper when you work in your hometown.”

Dietz won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for his ongoing coverage of Kilpatrick.

KYW Adds Investigative Reporter

Charlotte Huffman will join Philadelphia CBS owned station KYW as an investigative reporter.

Huffman announced the move on her twitter page,

Huffman joins KYW from WNCN in Raleigh-Durham, NC where she had been a reporter since 2010. Before working at WNCN, she worked at KETK in Tyler, TX.

WIVB Adds Pulitzer Prize Winning Investigative Journalist

WIVB has announced the addition of Rose Ciotta to its investigative unit.

“Rose has a reputation for tenacity, and the natural curiosity that is in the DNA of every great investigative journalist,” WIVB news director Joe Schlaerth said in a statement. ” She understands what is important to Western New Yorkers and will bring those sensibilities to News 4 Investigates.”

The Buffalo CBS affiliate said Ciotta will lead the station’s investigative team “in its multiscreen reporting efforts, which include on-air, interactive features and online special sections.”

Ciotta comes to WIVB from the Philadelphia Inquirer where she was part of an investigate team that won a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. She starts Monday, August 5.

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