Kyle Dyer dog bite interview: Legitimate story or ratings stunt?

kyle dyer post bite.jpg
Kyle Dyer.
In the wake of the Kyle Dyer on-air dog bite incident, 9News was accused of downplaying the story by declining to run the video and encouraging other outlets to follow suit. Now, though, the criticism has taken a turn, with some media observers accusing the station of exploiting the bite for ratings gold via features like last night's interview with Dyer, on view below. Are such complaints valid?

February is a sweeps period, meaning that viewership figures throughout the month are used to set advertising rates for the immediate future. During this time, TV news operations traditionally air their grabbiest, most hype-worthy reports and investigations in an effort to give the numbers a bump.

The attention that came the station's way after Dyer was bitten live on 9News' popular morning program by Max, an Argentine Mastiff who had been rescued from an icy pond the day before, has done just that, albeit entirely by coincidence. Yet multiple media sources have complained to yours truly over the past week about subsequent 9News tie-ins -- namely a week-long series of reports about dog safety. The pieces -- including the one on view below, which pertains to dogs interacting with each other -- are the sort of how-to puffery that's generally confined to morning or afternoon programs, rather than being given prime-time treatment.

kyle dyer stitches.jpg
Dyer post-surgery. Doctors needed seventy stitches to close her wounds.
And then there's the interview with Dyer, conducted by her morning-show partner, Gary Shapiro, which juxtaposes images of a healing, upbeat Dyer with a shocking shot of her just-stitched-up wounds, scored to melodramatic, soporific piano tinklings intended to give those heart strings an extra tug.

Over the line? It's a close call, but in the end, I don't think so. The dog-training series and the interview may not qualify as groundbreaking journalism, but they're imprinted with 9News' DNA.

In this market, the station pioneered the blend of self-promotion and do-goodism that the dog-safety packages represent. Witness its use of station talent in public-service announcements and as pitchmen for projects like Buddy Check9, which encourages breast self-examinations, and the 9Health Fair, a long-running program that offers screenings and check-ups at low cost. Such offerings enhance the station's reputation in ways that have been widely imitated by other broadcasters in these parts, but 9News still does them better than anyone -- a big reason why its newscasts have bested the competition in key slots for years.

As for the interview, it's every bit as newsworthy as was the bite video 9News chose not to re-screen. Dyer is a popular personality in the marketplace, and viewers have been understandably eager to hear her speak and see the extent of her injuries after the two surgeries she's undergone thus far. Granted, the interview should have addressed the question of whether Dyer believes she made a mistake by putting her face so close to Max's, and the tone would have been better if it hadn't echoed the conclusion of a Hallmark Channel movie. But I believe the station would have run it and the dog-training series had she been injured during any other month of the year.

That it happened in February doesn't make the accident happy, but it will cause the followup coverage to pay off in a very tangible way.

Look below to watch the interview, followed by the aforementioned sample of the dog-safety series.

Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Media archive: "Kyle Dyer dog bite: Kirk Montgomery on Facebook controversy, her condition."

My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
Kevin Brauer
Kevin Brauer

There is no way Kyle had her face bit up like that as a ratings scheme.

Jimmer3232
Jimmer3232

As a dog bite victim with almost identical injuries as her let me tell you how much fucking fun it is to walk around feeling like your deformed as people stare at you. Then you get to explain to people you havent seen what happened and why you look like a freak. Her career is over. She'll probably cry every day for 6 months. You guys should all fuck off.

Bill
Bill

When will there be an update on Max, complete with tinkling piano music in the background?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Wow, that wound is a lot nastier than what was expected from the original video "nip".

She must have been bleeding like a stuck pig all over the studio, albeit off-camera.

Good thing the dog didn't completely avulse and swallow that flap of lip tissue.

And now she needs hip replacement surgery too ?

Perhaps it's time to retire the old broad and bring in a new, younger, fresh face?

Guest
Guest

It is a valid news story but of course 9News was pimping it for ratings.  Why do you think it didn't air until the late newscast?  The interview was done in the morning and could have easily been ready for earlier evening newscasts if the true motive was to ally viewers' concerns about Kyle.  It was held and teased in such a fashion that the audience never saw Kyle's face and had to tune in at 10 to see it.  Kyle's attitude is amazing after such a traumatic experience and the mess that followed.  9News management could take a lesson from its injured employee about how to handle situations with class and dignity. 

Tell the truth
Tell the truth

I have read criticism of WW's constant coverage of this.  I think, though WW is instrumental in shedding light on the tactics, manipulation, self-promotion, that goes on regularly at channel 9. I believe that Ms. Dyers medical update was prompted by the previous couple of days coverage of the Kirk Montgomery taking down, putting up posts, drama.  It was not something that was being promoted until the day before airing.  Not their usual MO for teasing stories.  AND only AFTER the WW articles ran.  But all in all, still "fluff news".  Good job Westword.

Whatever
Whatever

Does the profound 9News hypocrisy surprise anyone?  No.  That Dyer would be complicit in it just makes us feel less sorry for her.  9News business-as-usual, exploitation as its finest resulting in a slight ratiings bump in its otherwise ratings free-fall.

Breaking News!:  Patti Dennis's hair catches fire when she ventures too close to the stage lights, film at 11.

IZen
IZen

Everything NON-news does is calculated for maximum self promotion.  Informative and useful content occasionally makes it past the promo machine and into a story but it's so hard to sit through the fluff and self-love.

letitgoalready
letitgoalready

The only ratings stunt I see going on here is Westwords constant coverage of this.  Stop covering this and do what you do best, following hipster partiers in lodo or reviewing the latest MMJ news...

Guest
Guest

The most worthy piece of news in this entire story is that if you watch closely, one of Denver's most well-know TV celebrities doesn't own an HD Flat Screen TV.   Look at the old clunker she has in her living room to watch the news.

Rarediamondgem
Rarediamondgem

What happened was unfortunate but you Do NOT put your face to ANY dog, ANY breed. Especially if the dog does not know you. Heed these warning to kids too who innocently like to do the same thing. I hope Ms Dyer heals well and sorry that this incident happened now, people might be cautious by seeing this, first hand.

Bill
Bill

Obvious rantings stunt, backed up all the more by 9News management's antics the past couple of weeks. Send in the clowns.

Guest
Guest

 Patti Dennis might rub bacon all over Adele Arakawa's face to get a dog to attack her but she wouldn't do that to Kyle.

TwistedJudgment
TwistedJudgment

Sad to hear it.  Did yours happen on live t.v.?  Then, did it get covered-up by a news organization that revels in exploiting victims whenever possible? 

If not, you might be better served in therapy, instead of posting on blogs declaring someone's career as "over" just because they suffered a dog bite to the face.  She doesn't look like "a freak" and I don't think people watched her solely for her looks.  

Maybe you should fuck off for minimizing Kyle's professional credentials and assuming that she is as psychologically wounded as you.  Get help.

Guest
Guest

 Patti Dennis needs to retire.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

 Appreciate you weighing in, LetItGoAlready. Thanks for reading.

Todd Shepherd
Todd Shepherd

Couldn't disagree more.  The TV channels aren't going to do a special, 30 min show discussing the ethics of what video to show, or whether this interview was rushed to get it into sweeps.  Westword's the best place for this discussion, and their coverage has been solid, thoughtful, and very even-handed.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Appreciate the vote of confidence, Todd. Thanks for weighing in.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...