Blog: Growing up with Cleveland TV legends

9:25 PM, May 21, 2013   |    comments
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On Tuesday, a member was recognized among the ranks of Cleveland's TV legends with another legend looking on.

If you grew up watching Cleveland television, you know the names well -- Tom Fields, Dorothy Fuldheim, Tom Haley, Del Donahoo, Dick Goddard, Doug Adair, Dick Russ, Virgil Dominic.

You watched them growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s and many are still here today. You may have "trusted" the network newscasters -- and I use that term deliberately -- but these people were your neighbors who made Cleveland news so very personal.

Residents in Northeast Ohio never had any problem walking up to any of them in the grocery store or on the street and talking to them about the news. It's because of their knowledge of what makes Northeast Ohioans "tick" that made them that approachable.

You may not always like the news they delivered but it made you think.

Other names include Jim Graner, Jim Donovan, Nev Chandler, Wilma Smith, Judd Hambrick, John Hambrick, Tom Meyer, Fred Griffith and Tim Taylor. Yes, I know I am not listing them all or maybe not listing your favorite.

But know that Cleveland has had only one enduring TV political reporter whose self-effacing manner is part of his charm -- Tom Beres.

Beres, of Ashtabula, was honored Tuesday with the Society of Professional Journalists' Distiguished Service Award at The City Club of Cleveland.

Introduced by former Congressman Dennis Eckart, Beres accepted the award with one hand while holding the 1979 audition tape he submitted to Channel 3 in the other.

It was 34 years ago next week that Beres was hired by Channel 3 and he is the longest-tenured reporter with a single TV station in Cleveland. He said he's worked for 16 different news directors in those 34 years and has never had the desire to become "management."

Beres, a Weslake High School graduate, has three Emmys, two for investigative reporting.

He likes to say that he met his wife Susan, who was there Tuesday, while he was covering the 1983 trial of Frank Spisak, a self-proclaimed Nazi transvestite who killed three people at Cleveland State University in 1982. Susan was a law clerk who was also at the trial.

He jokes that it was Frank Spisak that brought them together.

Beres is a walking encyclopedia of Cleveland political history. Being a politics junkie, it was my great good fortune to walk into the Channel 3 in 2007 and be directed to the empty, available desk in front of Russ and across from Beres.

If there ever was an atmosphere to bring my "A" game every single day, that was it.

It was no coincidence that, looking on at the City Club Tuesday, was Dominic, a legend in his own right and back at Channel 3 as a consultant.

It's not an easy business and the enduring nature of all of the above-mentioned people who talked to you daily from your Dumont or your Sony Trinitron or (now) your flat-screen TV are testament to how fervently Northeast Ohio citizens embrace their news.

They won't stand for not getting the whole story. You always get that from Beres -- and a whole lot more. 


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