He killed 12 people. Raped more than 50 women. His crime spree in the mid 1970s left the Sacramento area paralyzed with fear. His crimes centered around Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova. Two occurred right down the street where I live. The case of the East Area Rapist has never been solved. He can still be alive and living free. In innovative journalism, Fox 40 TV News took the unique step of using a podcast series "Exposed" to tell the story.
Fox 40 reporter/anchor Ali Wolf was the lead reporter and narrator of the podcast. She got to talk to a rape victim, the victims' families and the original investigators on the case.
"It felt like a privilege to have access to these people and do them justice," Wolf said.
Why a podcast in television news? Like all of us in media, Ali said they want to keep moving forward and find new ways to tell stories.
"When people pour their heart out to you, you want to use their voice," she said.
The Sacramento Sheriff's Department has an active case on the killer to mark the 40th anniversary of a double murder he committed in Rancho Cordova.
The podcast series is well written and told, very compelling with dramatic music and natsound that enhances the storytelling. Also involved were writer/producer Cindy Baker, who has a background in radio at KFBK and podcasts and sound technician Tom Long. You can find the East Area Rapist podcast on the Fox 40 website. It just might leave you a little scared at night knowing the killer might still be on the loose.
Kitty O'Neal Celebrates 25 Years at the Academy Awards
Longtime KFBK anchor Kitty O'Neal recently traveled to Los Angeles once again to cover her 25th Academy Awards. To mark the milestone, Kitty held a high tea at the Sutter Club where she provided a slide show of her favorite photos from more than two decades with her fun commentary. Julia Roberts was seen in a very form-fitting gown; the always stylish Nicole Kidman on the red carpet and Donald Trump making an appearance one year. There was also a fashion show at the Sutter Club with lovely models wearing a dozen gowns Kitty has worn to the Oscars, some of which she designed and sewed herself. She is quite the accomplished seamstress.
So how have the Oscars evolved in 25 years? Kitty said when she first started, it was just the news networks and outside news media. The red carpet wasn't that crowded for the media. But now, with the explosion of bloggers, websites, social media stars, web celebrities, entertainment and reality shows, it's often a battle to get credentialed each year.
It was always fun working with Kitty at Oscar time to talk about what she was planning to wear and after the show to hear her backstage stories. She often brought me back souvenirs from the Academy Awards, from Oscar cookies to the official program.
The event benefited one of Kitty's favorite charities, the Sacramento Children's Home.
Trading TV News for a Winery
People working in media often leave to take on a new challenge, usually joining a public relations firm or taking a state job with normal hours.
Popular KCRA meteorologist Eileen Javora Boeger made a big life change and decided to leave KCRA after 13 years to spend more time with her young family and the family business, Boeger Winery in Eldorado County. Eileen was very candid on her Instagram posts that she never expected her final sign off on a Sunday night to leave her in tears. She was even more overwhelmed by the kind words and well wishes she received from hundreds of KCRA viewers.
Eileen is now busy getting her girls ready for school, pruning grape vines, learning the equipment and helping husband Justin do "homework" by tasting new releases.
"I'm learning how wine can be different every vintage," said Javora, adding the fun fact that Boeger was the first post-prohibition winery in Eldorado County.
She told me she's finally getting more sleep, finding more time for her hobby of photography and sees a blog in her future very soon.
"I feel so fortunate looking back at my career at KCRA," Javora told me. "(But) I need to be here. This is going to be our long-term future."
In more innovative journalism, Javora still does Facebook Live weather updates with KCRA chief meteorologist Mark Finan. He plugs in from the studio at 3 Television Circle then is able to split screen with Eileen at her home.
Like me, Javora grew up in New Jersey and marvels how a Jersey Girl is now living a "Little House on the Prairie" life. You can see Eileen Javora Boeger's photography on her colorful Instagram page "The Wine Wife."
Media on the Move
Veteran journalist Dan Morain is beginning a new chapter in his long and successful career. Morain just stepped down from his position as Editor of the Editorial Board of The Sacramento Bee to become a columnist for the nonprofit, nonpartisan CALmatters. I've known Dan since my Los Angeles days when I was a reporter for The Associated Press while Dan was a reporter for the late, great Herald Examiner. Morain previously spent 27 years at The Los Angeles Times.
KCRA reporter Dana Griffin has left Sacramento for what she called a job promotion on Twitter. Griffin is taking on a new role as morning Weekend Anchor at Hearst sister station @wyffnews4 in Greenville, South Carolina. Dana started her new gig this week. She got a warm welcome in Greenville. While shopping at the grocery store, she forgot her wallet. A stranger paid for her groceries. Dana said via Twitter she will be taking that person out to lunch.
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