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Robert S. Riggs


At a Glance

Class Year: 1971

Award Year: 2001

Degree: Bachelor of Architecture

Profession: Journalism

Biography

Robert Riggs is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter and digital media entrepreneur. He has also received three coveted Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Journalism Awards for Investigative Reporting. The Peabody and duPont are respectively considered the broadcast TV equivalent of the Oscar and the Pulitzer. Today, Riggs is a freelance writer, video producer, and digital media strategist focused on a wide spectrum of topics. He is the host and creator of the True Crime Reporter Podcast. Riggs is building a true crime fandom community that entertains and educates his audience. Riggs also provides research, writing, and strategy for studies focused on national security topics through his membership in the Duco Experts. Riggs is also writing a book and online course titled Listen. Think. Speak™ which provides principles for communication in the digital age. Riggs’ professional experience includes stints as a congressional committee investigator; presidential campaign advance man, and government affairs representative. During his journalism career, Riggs established a reputation for fairness, accuracy, credibility, and toughness in his reporting for the CBS Television Station Group and WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and CBS Viacom reporting from the New York State Legislature. His investigative reports garnered a reputation for helping to send corrupt politicians and government officials to federal prison and were the catalyst for landmark changes in public policy. Riggs was an embedded reporter with the Army unit that led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and he also covered Gulf War I. His assignments have included covering the White House, Congress, Pentagon, and State Department during the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. He appeared as a guest correspondent on ABC Nightline with Ted Koppel, CNN, and ESPN. CBS 60 Minutes and CBS News Online featured his investigative reports from Iraq. He reported from the “eye of the storm” of major breaking news stories including the mass murder at Luby’s Cafeteria in Texas; the Branch Davidian siege in Waco; the Oklahoma City bombing; the standoff with the Republic of Texas separatists, and numerous natural disasters. Riggs’ enterprise reporting primarily focused on the criminal justice system and national security with an emphasis on terrorism. In this connection, The University of Virginia Critical Incident Analysis Group and FBI selected Riggs in 2000 as an expert member of a multi-disciplinary panel that examined the architecture of terrorism and the symbolism of its targets. Meeting near the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, the panel produced a landmark report entitled “Threats to Symbols of American Democracy” that prophetically identified vulnerabilities that would later tragically unfold during the 9-11 attacks. The Dallas Crime Commission awarded its first-ever Excellence in Crime Reporting Award to Riggs for his reporting on identity theft and Mexican Drug Cartels. The American Bar Association awarded him its Silver Gavel award for his investigative series Free To Kill which uncovered systemic corruption inside the Texas parole and prison systems. Prior to his journalism career, Riggs served as an investigator for the late Congressman Wright Patman of Texas who was Chairman of the House Banking Committee, Joint Economic Committee, and Joint Committee on Defense Production. As the Chief Investigator for the Joint Committee on Defense Production, Riggs spearheaded inquiries that touched on Watergate and Pentagon bribery scandals. He reported to the joint leadership of Representative Patman and Senator William Proxmire. In this role, Riggs held a Top Secret security clearance from the Department of Defense and received training from both the GAO and U.S. Army. The Committee's investigation of a defense contractor's bribery scheme contributed to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Riggs currently belongs to the FBI’s North Texas Chapter of InfraGard which was formed in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. He is also a longtime member of the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE). It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving investigative reporting around the world. He served as an adult leader in a church-based Boy Scout Troup in Dallas and is a past board member of the Gladney Center in Fort Worth, the nation’s oldest existing adoption agency. His late uncle and namesake Robert C. Sims, Class of 1944, was awarded the Silver Star during World War II and received personal recognition from General George Patton as one of his “Iron Men of Metz”. Robert’s son Patrick, Class of 2011, is a graduate of the College of Architecture working in the construction industry. His daughter, Katharine, Class of 2013, works in national security operations overseas. Riggs and his wife in the spirit of Texas are avid horsemen riding in both the Western and English disciplines.