Sam Allard / Scene
Carl Monday at Cleveland 19 News, (1/2016).
Cleveland's WJW Fox 8 announced yesterday that retired celebrity investigative journalists Carl Monday and Tom Meyer, plus former Fox 8 investigative reporter Tom Merriman, had all been hired back to the station's investigative team.
Monday, the "Dean" of local TV investigators, whom Scene profiled in 2016
, retired from Cleveland 19 News late last year. Meyer, the subject of a canonical Scene feature story
, retired from WKYC just this summer.
Merriman is a St. Ignatius and Harvard Law alum who jumped from TV to a law firm back in 2008 and was promptly roasted
for slapping his Fox 8 sign on his dashboard to get free media parking at the justice center. (Merriman will continue as a practicing lawyer as he contributes to the I-team. Hilariously, and no doubt unethically, a "Merriman Legal" ad precedes the Fox 8 video announcement.)
Monday, Meyer and Merriman will join the I-team's Ed Gallek, Peggy Gallek and Bill Sheil, doubling the unit's size and significantly increasing the number of investigative stories that Fox 8 will air.
"There's only one I-Team," said Carl Monday, in the announcement. "There's only one real, genuine investigative unit. And the chance to come back here, and cause some damage here in Cleveland, with the others who know how to do it right, it's really an honor."
Fox 8 News Director Andy Fishman called the newfangled I-team the "Mount Rushmore" of local investigative units, which is at least true in the respect that its members are nearly as old
as Mount Rushmore. Fishman clearly has no compunction about a strategy that capitalizes on familiar white faces from bygone decades.
"You just wanna be the last one standing," Fishman said at a panel discussion among local news directors earlier this year. "Call [Fox 8] a dinosaur, but the last dinosaur eats best, and you want to be the brand that people know."
The Fox 8 hiring news comes on the heels of a spate of hires by WKYC. The Lakeside station nabbed, among others, cleveland.com's ace columnist Mark Naymik
in July. As local print outlets' resources dwindle, the stations are swinging for the fences, no doubt content to dole out generous salaries in anticipation of ginormous ad buys during the 2020 election season.
With all that money on the horizon, some of these stations ought to consider investing in websites that don't induce epileptic fits after viewing them for 12 seconds.
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