Carmel Cafiero, WSVN Miami investigative reporter, died September 22 at the age of 76. She spent 43 years at the station. “Carmel Cafiero was known for her unwavering passion, persistence, and pointed questions, leaving an indelible mark on journalism in South Florida,“ the station said. “Her commitment to seeking the truth and holding those in power accountable was a hallmark of her career.”
The cause of death was not shared.
Born in New Orleans, Cafiero worked in radio before starting at WAFB Baton Rouge, where she became the first woman to anchor an evening newscast in the state. In 1973, she joined WSVN, then known as WCKT, as a general assignment reporter, becoming the station’s first female journalist.
“Not only was she breaking stories, she was breaking ceilings with who she was and the quality of her professionalism,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told WSVN, known as 7News.
Cafiero made her name taking on bold investigations, including the time she went undercover to expose unlicensed doctors who performed abortions. Her work exposed defective drywall in South Florida homes, dangerous pet treats from China linked to dog deaths and the sale of used mattresses as new.
Cafiero won a duPont-Columbia award for her work on the opioid issue in Florida.
“The thing that I find rewarding about my work is informing people, and if by informing people we can avoid one person from being hurt or taken in, then it’s a success,” Cafiero said in one of her investigations.
Cafiero is survived by her husband Bob, daughter Courtney and granddaughters Mariah and Melanie.
Eric Eglin, former WSVN producer, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “She was probably the most talented, honest and trustworthy reporter I ever worked with in nearly 20 years in the business. Everyone could trust Carmel to tell the truth, get to the heart of the story, and cut through the B.S. There will never be another Carmel. She broke the mold.”
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.