Drew Griffin, a veteran CNN investigative journalist, died at the age of 60

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Drew Griffin, an award-winning CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent who was known for getting even the most uninterested people to talk about a story, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer, his family said. He was 60.

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Griffin was a great storyteller, and he was known for holding powerful people and organisations accountable.

In a note to staff, CNN CEO Chris Licht said, “Drew’s death is a huge loss for CNN and our whole field.” “Drew was a very well-known investigative journalist whose work had a huge impact and fit this organization’s mission in every way.”

Drew Griffin As a member of CNN’s investigative team, Griffin worked on hundreds of stories and a number of documentaries over the course of nearly 20 years. His journalism had won some of the most prestigious awards in the field, like Emmys, Peabodys, and Murrows.

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“But Drew cared more about people than about prizes,” Licht said.

Colleagues said that Griffin had a very strong work ethic. Most of his coworkers didn’t know about his illness, and he kept reporting up until the day he died.

In a note to the investigation team on Sunday, Michael Bass, who is the Executive Vice President of Programming at CNN, also said how much he liked Griffin.

Bass said, “He was brave and creative at the same time. He knew how to take a story to its end and tell it in a way that everyone could understand.” “How many times has he followed someone who didn’t want to be interviewed? How many times has he told those in power the truth? How many times has he changed something important… It was an honor to work with him and see how he changed the world through his work.

Griffin’s reporting made a big difference and led to changes.

He was in charge of an investigation that took a year and found that delays in medical care caused people to die at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs all over the country. The VA secretary quit because of what the team found out, which led to the passing of new federal laws and a big change in how veterans’ appointments are handled.

After he wrote about how many claims of sexual assault against Uber drivers there were, the company changed how it did background checks and added new safety features to its app. After CNN’s investigation, Uber said it would get rid of a policy that forced people who had complaints about sexual assault to go to arbitration and sign non-disclosure agreements.

Patricia DiCarlo, who was the Executive Producer of CNN’s Investigative Unit and worked with Griffin for almost a decade, said that Griffin was a great writer who turned pieces into “compelling, must-see TV stories.”

“When Drew Griffin starts telling a story, you know it’s going to be great,” she said. “He stood out because of how he used words.”

Griffin’s sense of fairness was shown by the way he stuck with hard stories and was able to get even the most reluctant public figures to open up and tell their side of the story. Even so, he never passed up a chance to ask them hard questions.

Griffin’s 2016 Emmy-winning investigation into fraud claims against Trump University showed that a series of real estate seminars used questionable, money-draining methods that led to class action lawsuits from people who went to the seminars. Griffin asked a former Trump University instructor about his role in the scam, which was not to teach real estate strategies but to get people to pay for more seminars, in an exclusive interview: He said to Griffin, “We were making money.”

When election denial kept going on, Griffin worked to dispel the myths of widespread election fraud. He did this by going up against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is known for spreading false information. Griffin sat down with Lindell for a long interview to talk about his claims and evaluate the so-called evidence. In the end, he told Lindell the truth: he had “no proof of anything.”

Griffin, like all reporters, sometimes had trouble getting his subjects to talk right away. This led to some memorable on-camera fights, especially with government officials.

When Griffin found out in 2013 that there was a lot of fraud in California’s state drug rehab program, he asked the people in charge about it. When he finally found the head of the California Health and Human Services Agency, he tried to avoid Griffin’s questions by running into a locked bathroom. Griffin’s investigation led to an investigation by the government and a public apology from the program’s director.

Griffin’s work after the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, showed how dangerous election deniers can be. It was used by the Department of Justice and a House select committee investigating the insurrection in court filings.

Griffin’s main job was to do investigative journalism, but he often jumped in to cover breaking news, like mass shootings or hurricanes that caused a lot of damage. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, he saved a man by pulling him out of a pickup truck that was sinking. This was one of the most memorable things he did on air.

On camera, Griffin’s confidence, hard work, and determination spoke for themselves. Behind the scenes, however, it was his kindness and compassion that made him stand out. Few people in the audience would know that after these tough interviews, Griffin would often write thank-you notes by hand to the people who took part in a story. Even though Griffin was very private, he worked hard to finish big stories, some of which took him all over the world, so he could go home and spend time with his family.

Colleagues remembered the veteran journalist as a kind, skilled professional who took the time to mentor younger reporters, cared deeply about his team, and was always ready to help.

DiCarlo said that the time she spent working with Griffin was like “winning the career lottery.”

“So many people worked with him and loved him, and this is a terrible loss,” DiCarlo said, referring to the team of producers who worked closely with Griffin on his stories. “There was no one else like him. We were Team Drew.”

Griffin, who was born in Chicago, started out as a reporter and cameraman for WICD-TV in Champaign, Illinois. He worked for Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Washington TV stations at different times. When he joined KIRO-TV in Seattle, he became an investigative reporter. In January 1994, he started working as a reporter and anchor for CBS 2 News in Los Angeles. He helped set up the station’s investigative reporting team and won a number of local awards.

Family members said that when he wasn’t looking for the next big story, he liked to travel with his wife Margot, play the trumpet, or play golf with friends. He also loved his two grandchildren and his three children, whose names were all taken from jazz greats. His daughter’s name is Ele Gast, and his sons’ names are Louis and Miles Griffin.

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