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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 taking my teenage son to a sporting event. He runs Cross Country, and plays soccer, and volleyball. My wife and I have two daughters who are in college. The middle daughter is at the University of Cincinnati. The oldest is at Miami.   Visiting her gives me an excuse to get back on campus from time to time, look at the campus radio tower and drift back to the where it all began.    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

Medicaid expansion key in opioid abuse fight, Cordray says in Springfield
 Democratic candidate for Ohio Governor Richard Cordray, in his first visit to Springfield since the May 8 primary election, promised Monday if he is elected he would continue the Medicaid expansion championed by current Republican Governor John Kasich. Cordray spoke at a roundtable meeting with Springfield city leaders and Clark County social...

Posted: 15 days ago

Democratic candidate for Ohio Governor Richard Cordray, in his first visit to Springfield since the May 8 primary election, promised Monday if he is elected he would continue the Medicaid expansion championed by current Republican Governor John Kasich. Cordray spoke at a roundtable meeting with Springfield city leaders and Clark County social...
Calling 911 doesn’t mean they’ll be able to find you
 Cincinnati teen Kyle Plush did what he was supposed to do in an emergency: he called 911. But police couldn’t find him and he suffocated in his family’s van after he became trapped between the back seat and the back door. The case of Kyle Plush, which drew national attention and anger — much of it directed at the police...

Posted: 29 days ago

Cincinnati teen Kyle Plush did what he was supposed to do in an emergency: he called 911. But police couldn’t find him and he suffocated in his family’s van after he became trapped between the back seat and the back door. The case of Kyle Plush, which drew national attention and anger — much of it directed at the police...
Can 9-1-1 always find you? System failed in some local emergencies 
 Can 9-1-1 always find you? System failed in some local emergenciesHowever, the system did not work for Charles Romine, 71, of Dayton.  "I need a rescue. I've been on these rock for like, three hours," said Romine in his call to 9-1-1 last September.   When Romine gave them the wrong location, police and paramedics...

Posted: 29 days ago

Can 9-1-1 always find you? System failed in some local emergenciesHowever, the system did not work for Charles Romine, 71, of Dayton.  "I need a rescue. I've been on these rock for like, three hours," said Romine in his call to 9-1-1 last September.   When Romine gave them the wrong location, police and paramedics...
Because of threats, one in four judges say they pack heat
 Dayton area judges are accustomed to hearing outbursts from defendants inside the courtroom, but now there is growing concern about what can happen outside, including death threats. “It really comes with the territory, I hate to say,” said Montgomery County Common Pleas Administrative Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, who had a former...

10:00 AM Monday, May. 14, 2018

Dayton area judges are accustomed to hearing outbursts from defendants inside the courtroom, but now there is growing concern about what can happen outside, including death threats. “It really comes with the territory, I hate to say,” said Montgomery County Common Pleas Administrative Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, who had a former...
Still no execution date for Dayton man after 30 years on death row
 Twenty-five of Ohio’s Death Row inmates have been assigned dates through 2022 when lethal chemicals under the state’s direction are to be injected into their bodies. Samuel Moreland isn’t one of them, though more than 30 years have passed since his conviction for the murders of five members of a Dayton family. In fact, of...

2:37 PM Monday, Apr. 30, 2018

Twenty-five of Ohio’s Death Row inmates have been assigned dates through 2022 when lethal chemicals under the state’s direction are to be injected into their bodies. Samuel Moreland isn’t one of them, though more than 30 years have passed since his conviction for the murders of five members of a Dayton family. In fact, of...
The deaths of five women in Dayton linked by drugs, possible foul play
 The first body was found June 21, 2017, amid the garbage, broken glass and booze bottles that litter the alley behind the many dilapidated vacant houses near North Main Street on West Norman Avenue in Dayton. Since then, four more women’s bodies have been found within a mile’s radius, most of them just blocks apart. Police don&rsquo...

11:00 AM Saturday, Mar. 03, 2018

The first body was found June 21, 2017, amid the garbage, broken glass and booze bottles that litter the alley behind the many dilapidated vacant houses near North Main Street on West Norman Avenue in Dayton. Since then, four more women’s bodies have been found within a mile’s radius, most of them just blocks apart. Police don&rsquo...
Mysterious deaths rock N. Main Street in Dayton
 Dayton police and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office are investigating the mysterious deaths of five women within the last year. They died at a variety of unknown locations, but their bodies were all dumped in and around alleys along North Main Street in Dayton. So far, investigators have not found any evidence to connect the five cases...

10:22 PM Thursday, Mar. 01, 2018

Dayton police and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office are investigating the mysterious deaths of five women within the last year. They died at a variety of unknown locations, but their bodies were all dumped in and around alleys along North Main Street in Dayton. So far, investigators have not found any evidence to connect the five cases...
Dayton mayor, local Democrats line up behind Gasper for Congress
 The race to take on Congressman Mike Turner in the fall heated up Tuesday as Democrat Theresa Gasper lined up key endorsements from Democratic leaders. Gasper picked up the endorsement of several top Democratic office holders in Montgomery County, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, County Commissioner Dan Foley and others. The announcement...

12:04 AM Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

The race to take on Congressman Mike Turner in the fall heated up Tuesday as Democrat Theresa Gasper lined up key endorsements from Democratic leaders. Gasper picked up the endorsement of several top Democratic office holders in Montgomery County, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, County Commissioner Dan Foley and others. The announcement...
Ohio’s bail system is based on someone’s ability to pay. Is that fair?
 When Dayton native DaJuan Hume was a college student at Ball State University in 2004, he was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. By the time the charges were dropped, Hume had spent nearly two years in jail, lost his apartment and couldn’t afford the storage fees to get his vehicle out of the impound lot. “I lost...

4:55 PM Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

When Dayton native DaJuan Hume was a college student at Ball State University in 2004, he was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. By the time the charges were dropped, Hume had spent nearly two years in jail, lost his apartment and couldn’t afford the storage fees to get his vehicle out of the impound lot. “I lost...
Area libraries institute bans, tighten security


Dayton area libraries have increased security in response to a growing number of people who are committing crimes there instead of reading and relaxing.
An I-Team review of public records from police and the Dayton Metro Library show 279 people were removed from the main library at 215 E. Third St. in 2017. Another 35 people were charged...

6:41 PM Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

Dayton area libraries have increased security in response to a growing number of people who are committing crimes there instead of reading and relaxing. An I-Team review of public records from police and the Dayton Metro Library show 279 people were removed from the main library at 215 E. Third St. in 2017. Another 35 people were charged...