Once upon a time, in a city far far away (OK, it was Buffalo), there was a local TV station with a general manager and news director who very much wanted to shake-up their newscasts.
At the time, there was very little in the way of investigative reporting being done on Buffalo TV news and the GM and the news director decided that needed to change.
So they turned to a veteran reporter, with experience doing investigative journalism (OK, it was me) and said, "We're starting an investigative unit and you're going to lead it."
I'll admit, I was pretty excited about the opportunity.
Most of what was passing as investigative reporting on local TV news then was consumer driven. Not that there's anything wrong with reporting on scams and con artists, but I knew there was much more that we could be uncovering.
What I wasn't instantly excited about was the name that was given to our investigative team. They called it, the Pfeiffer Files.
After awhile, and as we began to rack up some solid investigative projects, the name kind of grew on me and our viewers.
And now my editors at the Niagara Gazette have decided it's time to bring the "Files" back.
So here we go.
Just like we did at News 4, we're asking for your help. You're the extra eyes and ears we need to start uncovering things that have gone on for too long in the dark corners of our community and need some disinfecting sunlight.
You can reach me at email@example.com.
If you like the U.S. Postal Service better (I do, because it's more secure and confidential than any email system), my address at the paper is Rick Pfeiffer, Niagara Gazette, 473 Third St., Niagara Falls, New York 14301.
Your communications with me will always be confidential until and unless we decide otherwise. That said, your tip will be better investigated if you trust me enough to let me know how to reach you.
I can't, and won't, promise that every tip will lead to a story. But I can, and will, promise you that every tip will be fully vetted and considered.
I've said in the past that had I known during my days at News 4 how much was "going on" in Niagara County, the Pfeiffer Files would have spent much more time up here.
Time to make up for lost time.
But Wait...there's more
Just when you thought I was done, like a RONCO commercial, I'm back with a little more.
The Pfeiffer Files will be more than just mining the Niagara Region for corruption and wrongdoing. It will also be a chance for me to share with you the nuggets of information I know you'd like to know but aren't quite substantial enough for the treatment of a full-blown story.
For example the things I hear whispered in the corridors of government buildings, public agencies and on the streets that can give you insight and perspective on your community. Put another way, it's the stuff I share with my editors that hasn't always made it into the pages of the paper in the past.
We're going to let you inside the newsroom walls and we'll even talk a bit about the journalism profession from time to time as well.
This should be fun.
I'm looking forward to my new interactions with you.
Rick Pfeiffer covers the City of Niagara Falls for the Niagara Gazette. He can be reached by telephone at 282-2311, ext. 2252.