Jim Otte

News Center 7 Reporter

I’m one of the reporters here at NewsCenter 7 with a lot of experience covering all kinds of stories around the Miami Valley. I grew up in Cincinnati, went to LaSalle High School and then to Miami University for a BBB in Communications. My time achworking with TV cameras and microphones started in high school. We had a small TV studio and closed-circuit system that linked different classrooms with the studio. At Miami University, I worked at the university’s radio station, WMUB. That’s where I anchored my first newscast and did my first field reporting. My summers were spent working for our family business building houses. I was a carpenter, truck driver, crane operator, roofer and more. My first job out of school was at WOXY radio in Oxford and that’s where I really started to get a taste of full-time reporting. It was a chance to do everything all at once, including political interviews, weather disasters, sports coverage, features about people and public interest issues. From there I moved down the road to WMOH radio in Hamilton. It was a great news station with a real commitment to the local community. I learned a lot about relationships between community leaders and the people who depend on them. The station format was rock/top 40 and if you remember the TV show “WKRP,” the characters who portrayed the disc jockeys on the show were a pretty good representation of the real life characters I worked with at WMOH. Fun and professional. Next, I headed north to Columbus to WOSU, the NPR station. I anchored newscasts and did a lot of reporting on education issues, including the ups and downs of Ohio State University. While I was there two things happened that really changed my career path. First, I did a fair amount of reporting for National Public Radio on events in Ohio that drew national attention. Second, I began to get involved in reporting at the Ohio Statehouse. By late 1982, I joined the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau, which serviced WOSU and all of the other public radio stations around the state. That’s where I learned how the Statehouse works, with hearings, legislation, and the thousands of moving parts that go into making state government work. When News Center 7’s iconic anchor, Don Wayne, retired, the station’s Statehouse reporter at the time left to take a new job at the station, joining Jim Baldridge on the anchor desk. That opened the WHIO-TV Statehouse job and I was lucky enough to get the gig. In a way I never left. I’ve been at Channel 7 since 1988 and have loved every minute of it. OK… not every minute...not the time standing in snow for weather coverage along I-75 in the sub-zero weather. But this job allows you to see people at their very best. Along the way you get to talk with some people who everybody has heard of and wants to know what they’re really like. That includes a lot of people I have interviewed from Presidents to professional athletes, artists and activists. I feel fortunate that I was able to cover some very, very famous people and spend some time with them outside of crowded press conferences. Former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn comes to mind first. Along the way I have been recognized multiple times for excellence in journalism. Here’s a few of my awards worth mentioning: 2007 Best Reporter (Ohio Associated Press), 2012 Best Reporter (Ohio Associated Press), 2014 Regional Emmy for an hour-long documentary on VA treatment of veterans with medical issues, in 2017 I was named to the Dayton Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and in 2020 won Best Government Reporting (Ohio Society of Professional Journalists). More recently, recognized by the Fairborn City Schools and the Montgomery County Educational Service Center with the Ohio School Boards Association Honor Roll Award for “outstanding work reporting on education challenges and successes.” Above all I am committed to serving the community and enjoy doing that through my work here at News Center 7. On the personal side of things: my wife and I have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Latest Headlines by Jim Otte

When the COVID crisis hit last year and Gov. Mike DeWine shut down the state’s economy, DeWine and state lawmakers were determined to provide businesses that were hurt financially to get some help on their road to recovery. It began with a $150 million grant program signed into law in March, 2021. Now the dollar amount has risen to $310 million thanks to a boost from the new state budget.

Local colleges and universities have been offering incentives and encouraging students and staff to be fully vaccinated before the school year starts next month.

The competition is on and Ohio is in the running to become the nation’s top supporter of military families. It began when the Defense Department identified ten policy issues of importance to families of active duty personnel.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed a new law designed to help military families as they relocate to Ohio late Wednesday afternoon. It was sponsored by two Miami Valley state lawmakers, Rep. Andrea White, R- Kettering and Rep. Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in mind. The bill would allow students of military families being transferred here to register in a new school district before they actually relocate to Ohio and if virtual classes are available, for that student to take advantage of that option before they move here.

More than a year ago when the COVID crisis first hit Gov. Mike DeWine stepped in to help Ohio food banks that usually rely on volunteers who help distribute food. Those volunteers were no longer available under state health restrictions.

Ohio’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, said Monday that while election fraud in Ohio is not the big problem that some activists and candidates would have you believe, it does happen in small numbers.

Latest Trending