Following her puff piece on 9News Vice President of News Patti Dennis last month, Denver Post media critic Joanne Ostrow went completely the other direction today when she called out 9News photojournalist Brian Willie for his conflict of interest in serving as a family spokesman in an incident 9News was actively covering. Her lede:
Question: According to journalism ethics, when is it proper for a TV station employee to serve as a spokesperson on a news story the TV station is covering?
Answer: After that employee leaves the media job.
9News sports anchor Susie Wargin is the latest KUSA-TV employee to join the 9News Alumni Association. Wargin, who is leaving the station to pursue a real-estate career, joins Will Ripley, Kirk Montgomery and Amelia Earhart as the most recent high-profile departures.
Filed under: KUSA
9News entertainment reporter Kirk Montgomery wasn’t offered a full, one-year contract and is leaving for Lansing, Mich.’s WILX. And former 9News sports anchor and Fox31 news anchor Ron Zappolo is returning to 9News in a move that may give Drew Soicher nightmare flashbacks from when he was unceremoniously drummed out of the San Francisco market.
Bravo to 9News anchor Kyle Clark, whose demand for better snow pictures has made it all the way to CNN.
9News cuts to the chase …
Fox31 and reporter Hendrik Sybrandy may be playing a little defense after 9News fact-checked a recent Fox31 story about an Italian gun manufacturer executive being mistaken for a terrorist and determined the whole thing was a “hoax.”
UPDATE: Fox31 has pulled the online version of its story, but not made any statement about why or offered a correction.
Clark’s questions – on the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya; stimulus money for the politically connected, Colorado-based Abound Solar; and the lack of civility in the Presidential race – represented a departure from the softball interview questions sitting presidents usually face in local markets.
Kyle graciously agreed to answer some of my emailed questions about the interview and the wide-ranging reactions to it.
Q: How was the decision made for you to be the one to interview President Obama?
A: As I understand it, the interview was offered to 9NEWS by President Obama’s campaign and our news director, Patti Dennis, asked me to conduct it. I’m not sure why I was selected; I’m not our political reporter, but like any player called off the bench by the coach, I just tucked in my jersey and hit the court.
Q: You have developed a reputation for asking hard-hitting questions, particularly as part of the 9Wants to Know investigative team. Did President Obama’s team push back when they learned you would be the one asking the questions?
A: I’ll be sure to mail you $5 for saying that. If President Obama’s team pushed back about me conducting the interview, I never heard about it.
Q: How did you prepare for the interview and select the questions you would ask?
A: I’m a political junkie who follows the campaigns pretty closely so I had a good idea which issues the candidates had already addressed head-on. We have no shortage of canned political messages on-air in Colorado, so my goal was to ask timely, tough, and fair questions that would elicit previously unheard answers on critical issues like Libya, the use of stimulus money and the tone of the race. I wrote out questions the night before the interview and ran them past about 10 people at 9NEWS to ensure that they were fair and addressed issues of interest. The morning of the interview, I adjusted our question on Libya to reflect recent comments made by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to the Associated Press.
Q: President Obama’s answers were perhaps a little longer than you might have expected. What were the next two questions you would have asked him if you’d had the time?