4

9News Exec Tells Employees To Be Quiet About Brian Williams's Suspension

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

NBC News' Brian Williams has been suspended for six months without pay for falsely saying he'd been in an aircraft that was struck by ground fire in Iraq circa 2003, and plenty of TV rivals, including, shockingly enough, the folks at Fox News, have been piling on the embattled anchor. But the average employee at 9News won't be able to join in, at least when it comes to communicating with the press: Exec Patti Dennis, who also has a major role with the station's parent company, Gannett, has sent a memo warning staffers to keep their lips zipped in public regarding Williams's time-out.

The memo, shared on Jim Romenesko's media-news page, is addressed to news directors throughout the Gannett TV system; Dennis is both news director of 9News and Gannett Broadcasting's recruitment director. It reads:

From: Dennis, Patti

Date: February 11, 2015 at 6:01:34 AM PST

To: Gannett Broadcast News Directors

Subject: Brian Williams

Please be aware no one should be talking to the press about NBC’s decision. [Gannett Broadcasting president] Dave Lougee and [corporate communications veep] Jeremy Gaines are the only ones to address this outside of our organizations. Please refer all inquiries to Dave Lougee. Please make sure your staff knows.

Also, be very thoughtful with posts and tweets.

Patti Dennis VP News KUSA

NBC's Nightly News is a staple of 9News, which has been the TV-news ratings leader in Denver for decades. Lester Holt will hold down the anchor chair until Williams's return — or not, depending on what happens down the line.

Below, see three videos: Williams's on-air apology, delivered prior to his suspension; a 2013 clip from Late Night with David Letterman in which he tells the Iraq story; and the original 2003 report.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.