Rich Jaffe Retiring After Decades As Reporter, Photographer

Aug 30, 2016

Rich Jaffe
Credit Rich Jaffe / Provided

A couple of things to know about WKRC-TV's Rich Jaffe -- and what made him one of the city's best TV reporters -- before he retires Wednesday:

HE STARTED AS A PHOTOGRAPHER: Jaffe first worked in television at WLWT-TV as a photographer, so he knows how to tell a story in words and pictures. Jaffe also shot news at WKRC-TV in the mid 1970s, often paired with Howard Ain. He left Channel 12 just before the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club story.

He also was a TV news photographer at Tampa's WLFA-TV, after turning down a chance to shoot for ABC's WABC-TV in New York. Who knows where that could have taken him.

JAFFE'S FIRST JOB WAS AS A WRITER: The Anderson High School graduate, after earning a degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM), was a copywriter for Jerry Galvin's advertising agency.

HE LEARNED FROM SOME OF THE BEST: As a Tampa photographer at WLFA-TV, he worked with reporters Chris Hansen ("Dateline NBC"), Kerry Sanders (NBC News), Byron Pitts (ABC News) and Sharyl Attkisson (CNN; CBS News; Sinclair's "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkinsson").

"It was wonderful. We were young and hungry, and TV news was sparing no expense," he says.

His passion for storytelling led to switching from photographer to TV reporter at Tampa's WTTF.

"I tell people all the time that I got fed up with working with stupid reporters, and now I are one."

Rich Jaffe's Rolodex is filled with 40 years of contacts.
Credit Deborah Dixon / Provided

You might hear about some of his big scoops and favorite stories at "Good Morning Cincinnati" at 8 a.m. Wednesday (Channel 64), or throughout Wednesday newscasts on Channel 12.

HE CAME HOME IN 1991: He gave up dreams of a job at a network or a top 10 TV market and returned to Cincinnati on April 28, 1991, because his father was terminally ill, and to be with "the love of his life." Four days later he married his high school sweetheart.

HE LOVES THE OUTDOORS AND ADVENTURES. That's why he put on his waterproof hip boots again to report on flooding at Norwood High School Monday, after Sunday night's heavy rains. That's why he owns three pairs of waders, keeps rubber shoes under his Local 12 desk, and a rain suit in his car.

"I'm always the guy they send out to say, 'Don't come out here!' But I had to get there some way," says Jaffe, who lives in Clermont County's Pierce Township, near New Richmond.

Jaffe, 61, who was born in Gainesville, moved back to Florida after his stint at Channel 5 in the early 1970s. He learned to be a deep sea diver, with the intent of being a commercial diver. But he was lured back to Cincinnati television by WKRC-TV news director Bill Crafton because "I had so many friends at 12." 

Jaffe plans to move back to Florida, where he can do more fishing, spear fishing, kayaking and hunting. He wants to build a home on the Gulf Coast near his family's favorite place.

"As soon as our place sells in Pierce Township, we're gone," he says.

HE MIGHT COME BACK: We could see him at a book signing, or reporting for a syndicated show.

"I want to do some writing. I've got a couple of books in me," he says.

"I'd like to retire for a few months. But I could do some national freelancing for an old friend of mine who currently has a couple shows in syndication. I'd like to wait a few months, but sometimes when these things come around you can't do it on your own schedule."

YOU GOTTA LOVE HIS HONESTY: "I won't miss the murder, mayhem, death and destruction. I can say without hesitation that I won't miss looking into the eyes of someone who just lost a loved one and asking, "How do you feel?"

AND HIS SENSE OF HUMOR: Like saying that "now I are" a reporter. Or explaining why he's leaving Channel 12.

"Someone said to me, 'Why would you leave this place? It's a great station!' And I said, "Because I can."

Good luck and good health, Rich. Enjoy your retirement. You've earned it.