A 10-person team at the NBC-owned station will cover in-depth issues from consumer complaints to government corruption.
NBC-owned WVIT Hartford, Conn. (DMA 30), announced today that it is launching a new consumer and investigative team focused on tracking down answers to issues and concerns for the viewers of the state.
The 10-person unit will serve as a viewer advocate concentrating on everything from consumer complaints to government waste. The new team will serve as the largest of its kind in the market, according to WVIT.
Sharon Butterworth, the station’s former managing editor, will lead the new consumer and investigative team. Butterworth has been with WVIT for three-and-a-half years and previously worked for 10 years at the WPLG Miami, with her last position as executive producer.
Monica Buchanan, a general assignment reporter with WVIT since 2007, has moved into the investigative role along with reporter Jeff Stoecker who has been a member of the news team since 2009.
WVIT newcomers Christopher Coffey and Sabina Kuriakose join the unit as well. Coffey, most recently with KTBC Austin, Texas, brings more than a decade of consumer and investigative experience and Kuriakose comes to WVIT from YNN in upstate New York where she reported throughout New York’s capital region.
Station veterans and Emmy award-winning photojournalists Darryl Vallez and David Michnowicz will provide images and perspective to the investigations along with Dan Lee, another WVIT photojournalist who has shot video for NBC in China and other locations around the world.
The team’s news associate, Denny Alfonso, recently joined WVIT. She has previous experience at the Today Show and also was a CNN en Español Radio correspondent in New York. The Colombian reporter “brings additional language skills and international perspective,” according to the station.
Another member of the unit will be announced soon.
“Our new consumer and investigative team, the largest of its kind in our market, is a commitment to our viewers to serve as their advocate,” said David Doebler, WVIT president-GM. “We will hold individuals, government officials and companies accountable and get to the root of important issues that affect our viewers and our state.”
The investigative unit addition is part of NBCUniversal’s investment in its 10 owned stations, which includes hiring more than 130 new people, adding more local news, establishing new consumer and investigative units and purchasing new equipment, including trucks, in an effort to boost the news gathering capabilities at the stations.