Jim Taricani, a pioneer in investigative journalism in Rhode Island, will retire on April 1, 2014 after more than three decades at NBC 10. Taricani, who has spent 40 years in the field, first as a radio and print reporter before embarking on his television career, became a household name after exposing some of the Ocean State’s most notorious organized crime figures.
“For more than 30 years, our viewers benefitted from Jim’s stories holding powerful people accountable and helping to bring bad guys to justice,” said Vic Vetters, General Manager. “Jim fought for all of us who are on the outside looking in and we owe him “thanks” for a job well done.”
Taricani credits the late Jack White with kicking-off his career, “as a young reporter, I was fortunate to meet Jack White, who was at the time the Providence Journal’s premier print reporter on organized crime. Jack was my best friend in the business and to me was the pinnacle of journalism. He really took me under his wing and introduced me a host of good sources,” said Taricani.
Through White’s mentorship, Taricani became intrigued by organized crime, ultimately covering it for nearly 20 years. “I’ve always been fascinated by organized-crime, so it was really interesting to cover the real-life mafia in its heyday.”
Taricani also tackled the tough issues of political corruption, most notably covering Operation Plunder Dome, the federal investigation into the City of Providence. As the result of refusing to disclose a confidential source, Taricani was sentenced to six months in home confinement, but was released after four months for good behavior. Taricani later became a nationally-recognized advocate for the passage of a federal shield law for journalists.
In the four decades that Taricani has spent covering Rhode Island’s hard-hitting news, he has received numerous accolades and awards including: four Emmys, the Edward R. Murrow award, the prestigious Yankee Quill Award, and was the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. But, it is the team at NBC 10 that he is most proud of, “I have been fortunate to work with great producers and photographers who have helped me do important stories on government and corruption,” said Taricani. “I credit my success to the team I have worked with at channel 10.”
“Jim has been an incredible journalist and a driving force behind some of the most important investigative pieces that this station has ever aired,” said Chris Lanni, News Director. “His tenacious attitude and uncanny ability to dig deep and find the truth has helped NBC 10 earn a national reputation for hard-hitting news.”
NBC 10’s I-Team, which Taricani co-founded in 1979 to spotlight investigations into organized crime, public corruption and social issues, continues with the input of reporters Parker Gavigan and Katie Davis.
What does it take to be good investigative journalist? According to Taricani, “you need to have determination and inquisitiveness to look beyond what is happening on the surface. Never accept anyone or any institution at face value. Katie and Parker have that talent and I’m sure will continue to move the I-Team forward in the right direction.”
Taricani spent four years in the United States Air Force. He has appeared on NBC’s Nightly News, The Today Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Court TV, CNN and CNBC arguing for a federal shield law. The recipient of a heart transplant in 1996, Taricani is a volunteer spokesperson for the Rhode Island branch of the American Heart Association and a past volunteer for Big Brothers of Rhode Island. He is a regular contributing writer for Rhode Island Monthly magazine.
About NBC 10
WJAR-TV/DT is the most watched television station in the Providence-New Bedford television market and NBC 10 News is Southern New England’s leading news station. WJAR was first launched as a radio station in 1922 and then became the market’s first television station in 1949. WJAR-TV/DT is owned by Media General, Inc.
About Media General
Media General, Inc. is a leading local television broadcasting and digital media company, providing top-rated news, information and entertainment in strong markets across the U.S. The company owns or operates 31 network-affiliated broadcast television stations and their associated digital media and mobile platforms, in 28 markets. These stations reach 16.5 million, or 14%, of U.S. TV households. Their network affiliations include CBS (12), NBC (9), ABC (7), Fox (1), MyNetwork TV (1) and CW (1). Sixteen of the 31 stations are located in the top 75 designated market areas. Media General first entered the local television business in 1955 when it launched WFLA in Tampa, Florida as an NBC affiliate. The company subsequently expanded its station portfolio through acquisition. In November of 2013, Media General and Young Broadcasting merged, combining Media General’s 18 stations and Young’s 13 stations into the 31-member group that exists today. Five of the stations have been on the air since 1949: WCMH in Columbus, Ohio; WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama; WJAR in Providence, Rhode, Island; KWQC in Davenport, Iowa; and KRON in San Francisco.