Barbara Nevins Taylor
Class of 1970
Barbara Nevins Taylor was an investigative television reporter for more than three decades, exposing fake doctors, uncovering dangerous living conditions, putting a spotlight on phony real estate deals and otherwise pursuing stories that have helped make a difference in the lives of ordinary people. She has won 22 Emmy Awards plus numerous other honors, she teaches journalism at Brooklyn College, and in 2011 she left the world of day-to-day reporting to launch a website called ConsumerMojo.com that continues the work she’d been doing when she was on camera.
Nevins Taylor is a native New Yorker who was raised in Queens and attended the High School of Performing Arts. Following her graduation from City College with a B.A. in English and Sociology, she began her broadcasting career at WHNT in Huntsville, Ala., and went on to work as an anchor and reporter at WKYT in Lexington, Ky. She was the chief political correspondent at WAGA in Atlanta, and in 1984, she returned to New York as a reporter and co-host at WCBS-TV, remaining with the station until 1991.
In the summer of 1993, Nevins Taylor was hired by UPN9 (WWOR-TV) as an investigative reporter. There, she exposed fake doctors whose clients died during illegal cosmetic and laser surgeries and landlords who collected federal rent subsidies while ignoring potentially hazardous conditions. Having a black belt in karate (as Nevins Taylor does) is not necessarily a requirement for this line of work, but it was comforting in the face of potentially aggressive reactions to some of the questions she was asking.
In 2004, she won the prestigious Investigative Emmy Award for “No Way To Live,” a series of reports that uncovered dangerous living conditions in New York City apartments. Another investigation, "Without License: From New York to Miami," focused on a doctor whose patient died in his New Jersey office while under anesthesia for a tummy tuck. Although his license had been revoked in two states, he had continued to perform cosmetic surgery from a Fifth Avenue office. Nevins Taylor’s work led to an investigation by the New York Police Department and Eliot Spitzer, then New York State Attorney General. After her report, the faux physician fled to Florida, but was extradited and indicted for practicing medicine without a license. Also in 2004, Nevins Taylor’s book, “Beautiful Skin of Color, A Comprehensive Guide to Asian, Olive and Dark Skin,” written with Dr. Jeanine Downie and Dr. Fran Cook-Bolden, was published. It grew out of a series of investigative reports about dangerous products marketed to people of color.
Her ConsumerMojo web site focuses on a variety of consumer-protection issues, with a particular emphasis on financial matters. It has as its motto “We Make Complicated Stuff Clear” and its goal is to clarify issues such as jobs and life after the age of 55, health care, credit, immigration, student loans and mortgages.
“I created ConsumerMojo.com because people need solid, unbiased information that they can review quickly and easily,” said Nevins Taylor. Reflecting on her career as an investigative reporter, she said most of her stories “involved people hurt and often devastated by con artists.” She sees the web site, which includes video features as well as written ones, as a kind of preemptive strike.
“I want to get you the information before the bad guys knock on your door,” she said. “People make the best decisions when they have all the facts and can understand what’s going on.”
Nevins Taylor has contributed to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, written for national magazines, and is the recipient of awards from such organizations as the Newswomen’s Club of New York, The Associated Press, the New York Press Club, the Society of the Silurians and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2001, she was honored by City College with a Townsend Harris Medal.