Denver NBC affiliate KUSA is denying a conflict of interest in its coverage of Kristin Hopkins, a woman who was trapped for six days in her car after an accident.
The Denver Post reports KUSA’s production manager, Brian Willie, is a close friend of the Hopkins family. At their request, Willie acted as a spokesman, reading an on-camera statement (pictured) to the media at St. Anthony Central Hospital Monday. Willie was not covering the story for KUSA, the NBC affiliate says.
KUSA’s rivals have complained that the family gave first access to photos from the scene to KUSA, according to the Post.
In reporting the story, the station disclosed Willie’s employment at the station: “The person that you saw reading the family statement is 9NEWS production manager Brian Willie, a close friend of the family who was asked to speak today on their behalf. He is not covering this story in his capacity on 9NEWS.”
Willie will no longer be reading statements to the media on the case. “There is no conflict of interest,” KUSA general manager Mark Cornetta told the Post. “There is no loss of objectivity. The hospital will provide any other release of information.”