Jim Otte

News Center 7 Reporter

Jim Otte has been investigating government spending since joining WHIO-TV in 1988.   A native of Cincinnati, Otte began his career at radio stations in Oxford, Hamilton and Columbus. During that time he covered Ohio politics for National Public Radio. At WHIO-TV, he began the "Wastebusters" segment on Channel 7, focusing on waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers' money throughout the Miami Valley. As a member of the I-Team, Otte enjoys interviewing the people who are impacted by government spending decisions. He is a two-time winner of the Ohio Associated Press "Best Reporter Award," in 2009 and 2012. Jim and his wife, Cindy, have three children.  Q & A   How did you get into broadcast journalism?   It all began at a little radio station in Oxford, Ohio. While I was a student at Miami University, I fell in love with the news business. Like much else in life, it is an acquired taste. It was a departure from my upbringing in the quiet suburbs of Cincinnati. On the news beat, days are often filled with politics and personalities, courts and criminals, floods and fires. I thought, "What better way to be a part of history than to spend a lifetime watching it happen and telling other people all about it?" From college, I moved to commercial radio in Oxford and Hamilton. Later I moved closer to the action in Columbus. I began covering the Ohio Statehouse in late 1982.   I have seen a lot of Governors come and go. Who was my favorite to cover? Dick Celeste. He knew how to communicate, whether the news was good or bad. After six years with the Public Radio and TV Bureau at the Statehouse, I joined WHIO-TV. Over the years, my most memorable story has been the Lucasville prison riot. I spent the better part of two weeks standing in a field outside the prison as troopers and national guardsmen tried to figure out what to do next.   I tell people wherever I go; the best part of the job is meeting people who have grown up watching Channel 7. They are an amazing bunch of people. Also, along the way, I have been blessed to win my share of awards from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists.   Yes, the news is not often very enjoyable. But I've always thought that reporters get to see people at their very best, too. That's the part that keeps me going.   And between stories I do have a private life. When I'm not paddling my kayak on a lake or stream in Ohio, I'm working with my wife on our house or visiting our kids. Luckily they live close enough to see them for family events on weekends and holidays.   Where were you born?  Cincinnati. The west side is filled with my immediate family and countless cousins, aunts and uncles.  Where did you grow up?  Cincinnati. Monfort Heights, to be exact. It's a Western Hills suburb.  What was your favorite TV show then?  If it was on TV in the 60's, it was my favorite. From news and sports to Hogan's Heroes.  What was the first thing you ever wanted to be?  A carpenter, like my dad.  How might someone have described you in high school?  Geek. And they would be correct.  What was your first job?  I worked for my dad's company in high school and college. Carpenter, roofer, truck driver, crane operator and a lot of other things.  What was your first job in television?  My first job in TV was floor director for the university station. My first paying job was reporter for the Public TV Bureau at the Ohio Statehouse.   What do you like about your job?  You never know where this job will take you or who you will talk to throughout the day. I've interviewed big names in politics and sports. I've met a lot of great people along the way who have made this job a real adventure.  What do you not like about your job?  I spend a lot of time away from my family.   What might people be surprised to know about you?  I broke my arm playing soccer in an adult recreation league in the mid-90s. I returned to play another season, but was forced into retirement by my wife.   What is the hardest thing you ever did?  One of the many hard things you have to do on rare occasions as a reporter is approach the family members of a victim involved in a terrible tragedy. I try my best to respect people's privacy.   What would be a perfect day for you?  My perfect day is breaking a big story, beating the competition, going home to get my kayak and hit the water with my family.   What advice would you have for someone wanting to go into the business?  Be ready for anything. Joy, sadness, triumph and tragedy.   If you could only keep one 5-minute tape from your career what would be on it?  The Lucasville prison riot of 1993. I spent a lot of time there during the riot and afterwards. Being a part of history is one of the best parts of this job.

Latest from Jim Otte

President Trump rallies GOP in Warren County
 President Donald Trump made his pitch Friday at the Warren County Fairgrounds for sending Republicans back to Washington in November, telling them the U.S. is “now the hottest country anywhere in the world.”   “We are here to make sure that our amazing progress continues full speed ahead,” Trump said. &ldquo...

Posted: 7 days ago

President Donald Trump made his pitch Friday at the Warren County Fairgrounds for sending Republicans back to Washington in November, telling them the U.S. is “now the hottest country anywhere in the world.”   “We are here to make sure that our amazing progress continues full speed ahead,” Trump said. &ldquo...
Ohio BCI drones compiling detailed building photos to help schools in emergencies
 The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has begun to use drones to help local law enforcement better respond to school emergencies. Through local police departments and sheriff’s offices, districts can request a special agent fly a drone over their schools to take detailed photographs of the buildings. TRENDING: Authorities investigate...

3:01 PM Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has begun to use drones to help local law enforcement better respond to school emergencies. Through local police departments and sheriff’s offices, districts can request a special agent fly a drone over their schools to take detailed photographs of the buildings. TRENDING: Authorities investigate...
Trial date set for former GOP statehouse candidate in extortion case
 A former Republican statehouse candidate faces an October trial date on charges related to statements she made about her opponent, State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, in their primary race this year.  Jocelyn Smith, 36, of Fairborn, faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion,...

3:15 PM Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

A former Republican statehouse candidate faces an October trial date on charges related to statements she made about her opponent, State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, in their primary race this year.  Jocelyn Smith, 36, of Fairborn, faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion,...
Jocelyn Smith
Jocelyn Smith stands with her attorney Ben Swift during her arraignment at the Greene County Courthouse in Xenia Friday, July 20, 2018.

3:09 PM Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

Jocelyn Smith stands with her attorney Ben Swift during her arraignment at the Greene County Courthouse in Xenia Friday, July 20, 2018.
They lost loved ones in military service. This Dayton event seeks to help them cope.
 When Bonnie Carroll lost her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in a military plane crash in 1992, she started a movement to care for other families touched by tragedy. She founded the Arlington, Va.-based Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, or TAPS. While all branches of the military offer help to surviving family members, the...

5:48 PM Friday, Jul. 27, 2018

When Bonnie Carroll lost her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in a military plane crash in 1992, she started a movement to care for other families touched by tragedy. She founded the Arlington, Va.-based Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, or TAPS. While all branches of the military offer help to surviving family members, the...
Ohio State Fair Tragedy: One Year Later
 COLUMBUS- The Ohio State Fair opens Wednesday, one year after a young man was killed and several others severely injured when a ride literally broke apart and fell to the ground. Tyler Jarrell, 18, was killed when the gondola on the Fire Ball ride snapped off and flung riders into the air and then slammed them to the ground in front of spectators...

9:30 PM Monday, Jul. 23, 2018

COLUMBUS- The Ohio State Fair opens Wednesday, one year after a young man was killed and several others severely injured when a ride literally broke apart and fell to the ground. Tyler Jarrell, 18, was killed when the gondola on the Fire Ball ride snapped off and flung riders into the air and then slammed them to the ground in front of spectators...
Wanted: workers who can pass a drug test
 Mindi Harris was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age and suffered from severe pain.  "They put me on Morphine 60's. They put me on Percocet 10's and Fentanyl patches and I'm just an 18-year-old kid," said Harris.  Harris said she was soon addicted, but managed to hold down a full-time job until her addiction...

9:30 PM Monday, Jul. 16, 2018

Mindi Harris was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age and suffered from severe pain.  "They put me on Morphine 60's. They put me on Percocet 10's and Fentanyl patches and I'm just an 18-year-old kid," said Harris.  Harris said she was soon addicted, but managed to hold down a full-time job until her addiction...
Sports betting bill introduced in Ohio legislature
 State lawmakers have begun planning for passage of a yet to be defined proposal to legalize sports betting. The first of several anticipated bills on the subject was introduced Thursday with neither what sports could be bet on nor the setting for permissible wagering on sports. The entire bill states only "It is the intent of the General...

8:01 PM Friday, Jul. 13, 2018

State lawmakers have begun planning for passage of a yet to be defined proposal to legalize sports betting. The first of several anticipated bills on the subject was introduced Thursday with neither what sports could be bet on nor the setting for permissible wagering on sports. The entire bill states only "It is the intent of the General...
5 wrestlers claim Jordan aware of OSU doctor’s alleged abuse
 The number of former athletes at Ohio State University who claim Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, knew about allegations of sexual misconduct by the wrestling team doctor, Richard Strauss, in the 1990s has now grown to five.  Before he became a Congressman, Jordan was a successful wrestler at the University of Wisconsin and later was an assistant...

10:23 PM Friday, Jul. 06, 2018

The number of former athletes at Ohio State University who claim Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, knew about allegations of sexual misconduct by the wrestling team doctor, Richard Strauss, in the 1990s has now grown to five.  Before he became a Congressman, Jordan was a successful wrestler at the University of Wisconsin and later was an assistant...
The area’s industrial history has left officials with a burning question: What to do with the toxic waste
 Factories that once brought jobs to the region and fueled the post-war economic growth left behind an unwanted legacy: toxic waste. Today, it is buried in old industrial sites and landfills that pose potential threats to the massive underground aquifer that provides drinking water to local communities. While most of those old industrial sites...

1:36 PM Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018

Factories that once brought jobs to the region and fueled the post-war economic growth left behind an unwanted legacy: toxic waste. Today, it is buried in old industrial sites and landfills that pose potential threats to the massive underground aquifer that provides drinking water to local communities. While most of those old industrial sites...