AN ABUNDANCE OF NEWS originating
from Denver made its way onto the
national airwaves this year, putting the state’s
local news stations to the test. Over the summer,
Colorado was plagued by wildfires that
destroyed 600 homes and killed five people.
Although the station is no stranger to wildfire
coverage, Patti Dennis, KUSA VP and news director,
says, “There [is always] something new
to learn as a journalist covering it.” KUSA’s
team was able to traverse the terrain to get
“some of the most disturbing, yet compelling,
live fire pictures I’ve ever seen,” Dennis says.
Then on July 20, a gunman at a suburban
Aurora, Colo., movie theater killed 12 people
and injured 58. As with the wildfires, KUSA deployed
LiveU camera units to Aurora. Though
the backpacks allow KUSA’s crew to get close
to the scene, Dennis says safety is paramount.
Earlier in the year, anchor Kyle Dyer was bitten
by a dog on 9NEWS’ morning show. The
story drew national attention. “It was an opportunity
to do what we’re commissioned to do,”
Dennis says, “which is to inform and educate
when we can.” KUSA spent time discussing dog
behavior and safety following the incident.
But all is not tragedy in the Denver market,
as shown when Colorado Olympic swimmer
Missy Franklin, who the station followed for
a year prior to the Summer Games, won four
gold medals. “Our audience was able to experience
[the Olympics] in ways that we’ve never
been able to showcase before,” Dennis says.
Dennis, a 30-year KUSA veteran, says the
station just has a “culture of excellence”—
one that she’s determined to continue.