Arnold Diaz, the veteran New York TV reporter who spent a career chasing down malefactors as part of the “shame” beat for various stations, announced his retirement from broadcasting Tuesday. Diaz’s last day at WPIX/11, where he has worked since 2014, is Thursday.
In a phone interview, Brooklyn-born Diaz, 73, said “I’ve accomplished pretty much everything I can in the consumer investigative field,” adding, “I wasn’t enjoying the job so much anymore. It was becoming so routine and working from home I didn’t even have the camaraderie of fellow reporters.” In addition, his schedule had “been cut to three days a week,” he said, while Ch. 11 “had taken away my producer so it was becoming more difficult to do my job with the quality I wanted.” (Ch. 11’s news director Nicole Tindiglia could not be reached for comment.)
The best-known of New York TV’s consumer watchdogs, Diaz literally built a franchise around the word “shame,” first for WCBS/2 which he joined in the early 1970s after a run at WPLG in Miami. His “Shame on You” stories for Ch. 2 were famously accompanied with a jingle and animated wagging finger — then typically ended with the subject of a story wagging their finger too. “Shame on You” later morphed to “Shame, Shame, Shame” at WNYW/5, where he was based from 2006 to 2014, then “What a Shame!” for Ch. 11. Diaz was also with “20/20,” from 1995 to 2003.
The “shame” template was both consistent and simple: Get a tip from a viewer who had been wronged then track down the scoundrel who had wronged them. His reports — over a thousand, by his estimate — had impact and won 48 Emmys. Diaz said he didn’t pioneer this style of reporting (which originated in Philadelphia, he said) “but New Yorkers love revenge and, even if I didn’t solve their problems, loved that we exposed” whoever was taking advantage of them.
Diaz also frequently headed to Long Island for his investigations because “Long Island has more than its share of con men.” His most recent LI story was about a West Babylon condominium association “that tried to stop a 4-year-old boy from riding his bike in front of the condominiums,” he said. (Happy ending: The boy can ride now.)
Of his future, Diaz says “I have two grandchildren — and you know the usual line, ‘spend more time with your family’ — but in this case it’s true.”
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