As a Peabody Award-winning investigative correspondent for CNN, the late Drew Griffin covered a famine in Somalia, gang violence in El Salvador and shoddy service at VA hospitals.
Those places had nothing on his last apartment in Champaign.
“The Birch suite in the Arbor Apartments on Gregory Drive was my one-bedroom hangout for much of my few years in Champaign,” Griffin told us in 2016, six years before losing his battle with cancer at age 60.
“I don´t want to call it a dump, because it most likely still exists, and at a price far beyond what I paid back in the ’80s. But believe me: The doors were so thin, you didn´t need a peephole to see who was knocking."
“The one redeeming value was the all-white tile bathroom with a drain in the center of the floor. My roommate and I would clean the bathroom once a week by boiling a pot of water on the stove, walking it into the bathroom and literally just tossing it over the sink, toilet, shower, walls — and it would all just drain away. No soap required.
“The entire operation took 30 seconds and it was the cleanest bathroom I have ever had.”
After earning his bachelor's degree from Illinois, Griffin remained in C-U, getting his start in TV at WICD. The Chicago native worked for stations in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Washington state before landing a reporter/anchor job at CBS 2 News in Los Angeles in 1994.
Ten years later, the brother of former UI band director Peter Griffin joined CNN.
In a note to CNN's investigative team following Griffin's passing, executive VP for programming Michael Bass wrote: “Fearless and artful at the same time, he knew how to push a story forward to its limits, but also tell it in a way that would make everyone understand. How many times has he chased an unwilling interviewee? How many times has he spoken truth to power? How many times has he made a difference on something important?
"It was an honor to be his colleague and to be witness to his work and the ways it changed the world.”