On Sunday, KSTP and Joe Schmit broke the news that the Minnesota Gophers had hired Jerry Kill as their new football coach. The plane that flew Kill to Minnesota that night was owned by Hubbard Broadcasting — which, coincidentally, also owns KSTP.
Schmit says that’s exactly what it was — a coincidence.
Schmit insists his employer did not pay in kind for a scoop: “I did not find out Hubbard was flying Kill until long after we broke the story. My sources had no connection to HBI … none.”
Schmit broke the news Sunday afternoon; as documented on the RedandNater discussion forum, the Hubbard-owned plane didn’t leave with Kill until 8:13 p.m. that night. When it arrived at 10:34 p.m., KSTP cameras were there.
Explains Schmit, “Once we found out Kill was coming in, we did figure out it was Hub jet from [a] web site and we did get into the hangar. I worked here long enough to know how to get into the hangar so I never called a Hubbard. They were surprised to see video on the news.”
Schmit adds that his sources didn’t give him the scoop as payback for Hubbard’s frequent-flier miles.
KSTP patriarch Stanley Hubbard has long been a big cigar who is not shy about deploying company resources where some journalistic enterprises might not; in the most recent election Hubbard Broadcasting directly contributed to political campaigns. I’m sure Hubbard’s favors have earned some sources’ good will. But despite its leader’s unconcealed sympathies, the newsroom steadfastly insists it remains independent and has to earn its scoops through dogged reporting.