Friday, January 29, was a big day for departures on Denver television. Around the same time that Natalie Tysdal was signing off at KWGN's morning staple Daybreak in order to essentially launch her own TV network, Becky Ditchfield, who won Westword's best weathercaster award in 2014, bid adieu to the audience at 9News's market-leading a.m. newscast — and she, too, made the choice to depart.
"After a lot of conversations with my husband, I decided it was time to leave and explore some new things," she notes, adding that her goals include "being more present with my family. I don't want to be specific, but some things came up after I made my decision to leave 9, so I need to focus on my family and help them in every way that I can."
Ditchfield, a graduate of Indiana's Valparaiso University who scored meteorological gigs at stations in Hastings, Nebraska, and Little Rock, Arkansas, prior to landing at 9News in 2007, acknowledges, "I've experienced many sides of this business" — including being fat-shamed by a viewer during the pregnancy of her third child in 2019. She responded by publicly schooling the troll on Instagram in a manner that combined science and humor:
Earlier this week someone wrote in telling me that I looked like a “freak with (my) belly sticking out 2 miles...” Today, I brought my handy tape measure to work to verify if this was, in fact, true. Let’s begin.
1 mile = 63,360 inches. According to picture #1 my belly sticks out approximately 6” from where my stomach normally sits, when I’m working out, and in great shape. Therefore, the 2 mile assessment is FALSE.
However, I also understand that perception is everything. So I asked our maintenance guys for measurements of our blue screen in the backyard and green screen inside. For comparison purposes, I’ve decided to go with the blue screen measurements since the camera never captures the entire indoor chroma key.
The blue screen measures 8’ 4” wide by 2’ 5” tall. 8’ 4” = 100 inches. Since my belly measures an extra 6 inches out from my "normal" stomach, then that means it’s only taking up 6 percent more blue screen space when I stand to the side.
Now, I’ve also included a map that shows our typical statewide view. From west to east, this measures 770 miles. If 100” = 770 miles on the map, then 1 inch would equal 7.7 miles. So if I’m standing in front of the statewide map, then my belly is taking up a whopping 46.2 miles. And that means this person MUST be giving me a compliment because that is A LOT more than 2 miles!
The reality is, the bump is just a little bigger than a basketball that’s been cut in half. The official circumference of a basketball used in the NBA is 29.5”.... As seen by my back measurement and measurement of the belly, the radius of the bump is somewhere between 5.75” and 6”. That makes the circumference of my baby bump between 36.11 and 37.6 inches. And if you want to measure it’s volume... If r = 6”, then the volume of my baby belly is 904 cubic inches...or approximately 1/2 a cubic foot.
So to the people out there who are offended by the (giant) life growing inside me, let’s please be accurate when sending me your hate mail.
BTW. Still Pregnant.
Following Westword's post on the exchange, her response earned Ditchfield an appearance on the Today show, during which she emphasized that she'd received full support from the station — and that continued. When asked about her exit, Mark Cornetta, 9News's president and CEO, emphasizes that Ditchefield wasn't pushed out the door.
"Becky has decided to leave 9NEWS after almost fourteen years," Cornetta states. "She has done an outstanding job for us, and while we would have loved to continue our relationship with her, for personal reasons Becky has decided to leave. Her professionalism, knowledge of the science and her positive disposition will be missed. We wish Becky and her family nothing but the best."
A search for a new weathercaster is under way.
For her part, Ditchfield reveals, "This past year I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my career — where it's been, where it's heading and where I want it to go. I've learned a lot about myself in the last thirteen years. I've grown professionally and personally. ... Leaving a steady job and income is scary, but I was feeling stuck, and my gut was telling me that this was what I needed to do."
Asked about her plans, she says, "Ultimately I'd like to work for myself, but I don't know what that looks like just yet. I'm looking into things like video coaching, specifically with real estate agents, and possibly producing some weather stories that I'm still interested in."
In the meantime, Ditchfield says, she's "grateful for every experience I have had at 9News, the good and the bad! I would not be the person I am today, professionally or personally, if it weren't for those experiences. I'm very proud of the work that I have done, and I am so honored that the people of Denver have welcomed me into their homes for so many years. The people at 9News are like family, and I will miss hanging out with them every day."
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