In the two months he's been off the air, former WFLD-Channel 32 news anchor Jeff Goldblatt has been enjoying the summer with his wife and four kids, doing a little fishing, and pouring coffee for patrons at Kevin's Place, a lively neighborhood diner in north suburban Deerfield.
But as summer turns to fall, it's time for Goldblatt to put away the fishing gear and take off the apron. He's heading back to work.
While continuing to field anchor offers from other markets, Goldblatt, 41, is expected to sign on this week as a part-time reporter at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Although that's all anyone is saying for the moment, no one there would be too surprised if he also turned up as a fill-in news anchor from time to time.
It's a role for which Goldblatt is eminently qualified, considering the nine years he spent as a correspondent for Fox News Channel before he began anchoring Channel 32's 9 p.m. newscast alongside Robin Robinson in 2008. He signed off from the Fox-owned station on July 2 -- four days before Bob Sirott was formally announced as his replacement.
"Jeff has an impressive background reporting on major stories from around the world, and right here in Chicago," said‚ Frank Whittaker, station manager/vice president of news at Channel 5. "We're delighted to add his knowledge and‚ experience to our news team." In his first interview since leaving Fox Chicago, Goldblatt said he harbors no bitterness toward his former employer despite the brevity of his tenure at the station or what others might call a lack of candor by his bosses. Mainly though, he's looking forward to his new opportunity with Channel 5:
"It's great to be able to continue to work in Chicago, a city I love and know well.‚ My focus is on the present, and that's to do the best job possible that I can for NBC 5.‚ I am looking forward to working with a tremendously talented group of people -- as opposed to competing against them. "I am forever grateful to News Corporation for the opportunities afforded to me during my nine years with the Fox News Channel as their Chicago-based correspondent and my two years with Fox Chicago.‚ I have no regrets about moving to WFLD. I got the chance to anchor the signature newscast at a dynamic time for news in Chicago, along the way absorbing what I could from one of the industry's most accomplished‚ communicators, Robin Robinson."
Starting in 1999 at Fox News Channel, he covered wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, battles in the Middle East between Hezbollah and Israel, political conventions, presidential campaigns, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, among other natural disasters. He continued to report for Channel 32, winning Emmy Awards for both hard news and investigative reporting.
As television news continues to evolve, Goldblatt said he feels comfortable rolling with the punches and adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of the industry:
"With my first job in the business, I did my own editing and shooting as a one-man band in South Carolina. I had to be industrious back then to get the story. Same applies to the broadcast journalists of today.‚ If you're not gritty, you're not going to be able to give viewers something they can't find somewhere else, and you certainly won't be in a position to add value to the corporate bottom line."