While much of what passes for news on local television has hit the skids, fortunately there’s still something to be said for solid, old-fashioned investigative reporting in Chicago.
Exhibit A is the I-Team at WLS-Channel 7, where chief investigative reporter Chuck Goudie, a 34-year veteran of the ABC-owned station, heads a franchise that has expanded its brand, doubled its personnel and elevated local TV to a new competitive level in recent months.
Most visible among the additions has been Jason Knowles as a full-time investigative reporter specializing in consumer-related issues. Behind the scenes, longtime investigative producers Ann Pistone and Barb Markoff have been joined by two other full-time producers, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner.
“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.”
Other local stations continue to do notable investigative work, and some have been considerably more effective at marketing their investigative units. But none delivers the goods with the frequency or consistency of Goudie & Co.
With the latest expansion, the I-Team brand appears five nights a week on ABC 7’s 6 p.m. newscast and three times a week on its 10 p.m. newscast, in addition to providing original material on ABC7Chicago.com and across all digital platforms and social media.
“We’ve really become the major Eyewitness News franchise,” says Goudie. “Pretty remarkable in a time of broadcast uncertainty.”