Where are they now: Taricani misses chasing the truth

Providence Journal |

--NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- Jim Taricani wasn't ready to stop working entirely when he retired almost four years ago as Channel 10's veteran investigative reporter.

Shortly after leaving WJAR in 2014, Taricani went to work for the public-relations firm started by his former TV station colleague Dyana Koelsch. At DK Communications, he developed media strategies for clients and wrote press releases.

But in October, Taricani, who is 68, stepped away from that job, too. Since then, he's been getting used to real retirement.

"I sit around playing my guitar, do some reading, watch a little tube," he said. After more than 30 years as a local television presence -- most of that time as an investigative reporter uncovering the hidden worlds of organized crime and political corruption -- "it's nice" to relax, he said.

Taricani has faced several health challenges.

In 1996, he had a heart transplant. Three or four years ago, circulatory problems forced amputation of his left leg below the knee. "I've been getting along fine without that," he said. "Still work out on a treadmill."

More recently, the medication he takes to prevent his body from rejecting the transplanted heart has affected his kidney -- he was born with only one. He may need to go one dialysis.

Despite those setbacks, he counts himself fortunate.

"I've been really lucky. It's been 21 1/2 years, which is a long, long time" for a heart transplant recipient. "I'm feeling good, lead a full life and have no big complaints about anything -- lucky to be on this side of the grass, for sure."

Taricani, who is married to Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, used to write periodically for Rhode Island Monthly. He's thinking of starting a nonfiction writing project but isn't ready to talk about it.



There are times when a great news story breaks that the "natural instincts takeover" and for a moment he misses the chase for the truth.

Taricani co-founded the station's I-Team in 1979, when organized crime was brutal sidewalk reality, not podcast entertainment.

In 1994, he interrupted his long career at Channel 10 for a two-year stint as spokesman for former Gov. Lincoln Almond.

In 2004, back at Channel 10, he was sentenced by a federal judge to six months of home confinement for refusing to disclose the confidential source of a leaked video that showed an aide to then-Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. accepting a bribe.

He was released after four months for good behavior and became a vocal advocate of a federal shield law for journalists, testifying in 2007 before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in favor of a shield law. To this day, no statutory protection exists at the federal level.

Taricani lives in Saunderstown and serves on the board at the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, which provides food and clothing to residents in South County.

On a recent snowy day Taricani had just finished rereading the book "Donnie Brasco," the true story of an undercover FBI agent who had infiltrated the Mafia. He was moving on to "UnBelievable: My Front-row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History" by Katy Tur.

Said Jim Taricani: "I'm just chillin'. "

Whatever happened to...

Do you wonder what happened to someone with a Rhode Island connection who used to be famous but has slipped from the spotlight? Send us their name, why they were famous, and clues -- if you have any -- on where we might find them. We'll try to track them down and let our readers know where they are now.

Email newstips@providencejournal.com, or write to Where Are They Now, News Department, The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain St., Suite 200, Providence, RI 02902.

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