GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It may be the most feared sound a fraudster will ever hear: Target 8 investigator Henry Erb knocking at the door.
Monday marked his 50th anniversary on the air in West Michigan.
“I have been happy almost every day of my career,” Henry told his colleagues as we celebrated his amazing tenure.
For five decades, Henry has gone into the darkest corners of the city, rooting out corruption, waste and fraud. He has scoured through toxic waste, shielded only by a trench coat and the truth.
“He absolutely wants to dig. He is just a dog with a bone and I mean that in the most complimentary way. He will stay on a story until he finds everything that is necessary to tell it,” former WOOD TV8 News Director Matt McLogan said.
Henry readily admits that the tedious work of investigative reporting isn’t always glamorous.
“I do get doors slammed in my face quite often,” he recounted last year a WOOD TV8 celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Appointed as an investigative reporter in 1981, Henry quickly developed a reputation as a hard-hitting, thorough and skilled investigative reporter.
His journalism was recognized 13 times over the last three decades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated Press in April 2006.
“He’s an original. And what’s interesting is that he is an original television investigative reporter,” Chris Halsne said.
Halsne, a veteran investigative reporter, teamed up with Henry in the 1990s to establish Target 8 as we know it. The pair, along with photojournalist John Arguello, quickly focused on their core mission.
“He decided that not only was he going to tell stories that are unique, he was going to put video to them and sound to them, matching the narration with the images, the power of that,” Halsne said.
McLogan touted his old colleague as a true pioneer in local television.
“In this market, Henry was the first or among the first to do long-form stories,” McLogan said.
Originally from St. Joseph, Michigan, Henry began his broadcast career 60 years ago at WSJM Radio as a high school student. He jumped to TV news in 1970, leaning into the fashions and emerging fads of the time, dressed in wide lapels, checkered suits and carrying a pipe.
While the memory and the reporting are as sharp as ever, his knees have taken a pounding after a lifetime of good, old-fashioned gumshoe reporting.
“Really what he’s done is historic. There will never be another Henry,” Halsne said.
Henry Erb knocks on doors, knocking down the barriers erected by greed and special interests.
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
Keep knocking, Henry. Congratulations on 50 years.