Katie Couric Review

Katie Couric Leads the New CBS News

So the $15 million news lady premieres – what’s the result? Winners and losers!

Actually, Katie was neither. She was fine, nice – and not overly cute. But it was really a non-event except for all the hype. I like Katie – a lot. She interviewed me on the TODAY Show, she is a very nice, approachable person, exactly as she appears. And she’s good on camera. She DOES create a communication experience. But is that enough….

The interesting thing in tonight’s CBS News is that she was not among the winners and losers. She was neutral, did a good job, but nothing spectacular. Whether she wins will be seen in the next few  months, or years maybe, but not the next few days and weeks. (Remember Conan O’ Brien – who started out terribly many years ago and is now a big star – and pretty good at that. He took a year to establish.)

First impressions are important, but we already know Katie. She did well in not trying to overdo her ‘personality.’ She doesn’t have to. She read the news, and she was fine. We’ll see as far as Katie goes.

The Winners

Documentary filmmakers – this was an overproduced show. There were literally five set pieces, mini-documentary films or segments. The documentaries, and some of the set pieces were good, generally, but they were not news:

  • Aftghanistan today with Laura Logan
  • Bush speaking today against backdrops of ‘evil’ leaders with Jim Axelrod
  • Tom Friedman, NY Times Columnist in a long interview with Katie
  • Black Gold – Shell’s ‘difficulties’ and riches in today’s oil market
  • Produced Segments of Free Speech, Snapshots and Precious Images

Graphics – there of course is a whole new look to the CBS News with Katie. It looks good, I guess. Certainly is livelier than the Dan Rather backdrop. And their Snapshots segment was well done and interesting. (Not so much Free Speech – who really cares what a lay person thinks unless they have credibility – just more talking head and spin meisters.) The design was very conscious – take a look at the firm who did them National Ministry of Design in Boston. Good job, but is that news.

Non-Network News – the show was interesting, but why would you want to watch. For Katie – I don’t think so – she had more freedom, spontaneity and spunk on the TODAY Show. She is a newsreader now, albeit a pretty good one. This is a five segment show masquerading as news – the internet, and cable for instant major events updates will be the winners for news of the future. This CBS Evening News is entertainment, but it’s not that entertaining.

The Losers

Network News – See above.

News Readers – If Katie can’t stand out, not too many can. It was good to see the clips of Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow in the Snapshots segment – they were trusted NEWSMEN (or Newswomen as the case might be.) They did more than read news – we wanted their opinions and got them. The biggest opinion from Katie was her ending – when she asked viewers to give her ideas for how to ‘sign off,’ and then signed off with “I’m Katie Couric, thank you for watching and hope you tune in tomorrow night.” Not exactly compelling.

Mass Media – this is just a further splintering of the influence of mass media on the public. There are too many options – and it’s not just the news media. Theatrical film distributors are trying to create the “film” experience to attract patrons who want to watch in the convenience of home theatres or on DVDs. Videos are now produced by anyone and put on the internet, and more people might see a silly but riveting home movie in a week than have seen a major motion picture in a year. Fragmentation is here, and I’m afraid that CBS Evening News spent a lot of money on a fine person but the audience is gone.

What do you think? More than likely you didn’t see the newscast. (Although you might watch tomorrow night as Katie got in a great plug for an exclusive live (sort of – it will have been taped) interview with President Bush – very clever.) But if you do watch it in the future, doubtful if it will get much better. They put a lot into this first show in money, promotion, hype and production value. I don’t think it will pay off – even though I like Katie.

Let us know your opinions right here!

11 comments on “Katie Couric Review

  1. I have watched Kathy and was so glad to have a woman anchor
    …until recently! I do not appreciate the way she talked down to Gov Sarah Palin. Perhaps Kathy has forgotten what real journalism is all about. I hope CBS will find another position for her immediately and get back to journalism not the curric way!

  2. Katy Couric forgot what brought her to the CBS news anchor chair; her sexy smiley cute self. That’s what all of us wanted to see in her.
    Anybody can spout out the news. What separates the leaders are themselves and that’s what we are looking for and why we want to see her.
    She has changed in her new role and perhaps she thought she needed to look different but that’s not what made her popular.
    I hope she will return to being herself and hopefully she will have enough of the kind of news to make us smile once in a while.

  3. I watch Katy every single night she’s on. I like the idea of a women anchor soon we’ll have a woman pesident. Were I Ms. Couric’s publicist i’d stir alittle controversy and have alot more viewers tunning in. Keep up the good work Katy.

  4. When I think of Katy, I think of BAD News. That’s all she knows. When I think of News irs Y2K; a colossal screw up and demonstration of ignorance. Here’s why;
    In big red letters yesterday, she posted “3200” as the (bad news) number of deaths in the IRAQ war since March 2002, 5 years ago. Why doesn’t she compare that to the number of Americans from an equal segment of the population (150,000) for 5 years? at 847 per 100,000 per year, that would be 6,353 !!! about double the number of those who live in New York or Chicago! President Bush did us a favor Katie, you idiot!!!

  5. Hey, Katy,
    If you want to become number 1 and beat out ABC and NBC I would suggest that you become a republican and push the republican values. Build up the President instead of tearing him down – give us the news without the liberal slant and slander. How refreshing would that be! and you would become #1 in no time.

  6. Ms. Couric needs to drop the “FOLKSIE” style she had on the morning show. I suggest changing at least two things, Katy to Katherine or Kathryn and no more sitting behind or on the desk. Stand up hold a folded 8.5 x 11″ paper and tell it like a man.

  7. Does anyone truly care about Couric? I never liked seeing Couric and her gummy smile on the Today Show, so why would I waste my time watching her read a teleprompter concerning serious issues!!

  8. Let’s see $ 15 Million dollars, six months of hype and a theme song of Titanic proportions. All and all I think Katie did a respectable job. She was a bit nervous I thought but that was to be expected. This is likely the biggest thing she has ever undertaken in terms of scope, scrutiny and judgment.
    I think that the edgier version of the evening news will certainly create more attention and account for more buzz. However, I thought perky Katie was just fine and will settle in and do a very nice job against Brian and Charlie. However one check I would have to put in the Katie column is the freeSpeech portion of the program. Morgan Spurlock was great and I think they should make him a regular contributor to the newscast. I thought his comments were fantastic and were aptly positioned to poke fun at even CBS for the SMACK DOWN reality of network news.
    All and all, CBS accomplished something that hasn’t happened….not since Tom Brokaw signed off. They have my TIVO recording tonight’s newscast.
    Ripple On!
    Steve Harper

  9. Bert–
    I think the entire broadcast came away as too soft, too feminized, too feature-driven, and not nearly hard-news-driven enough. That’s going to drive away a lot of the male audience. When I turn on the news, I want to see the news.
    Katie has some mannerisms that I find off-putting. She looks harsh, disapproving, and severe whenever she is talking about the war and the Bush administration, and I get a sense from her facial expressions that she loathes Mr. Bush.
    She has a mannerism of hunching, tilting her face down, and looking at the camera (i.e., the viewer) from under her eyelids that looks absolutely menacing.
    I expect the content of the broadcast to create some controversy. Katie did more editorializing than reporting, which was obvious in lines like “What happened in Afghanistan? Why is it unraveling now?” The lead segment on Afghanistan was good theater, but didn’t support the conclusion (Katie’s opinion stated as fact) that Afghanistan is “unraveling.”
    I expect to hear a lot of criticism about the show’s lack of hard news reporting. There were dozens of important stories in today’s news that went unreported by CBS. This thing was a poofy little TV magazine, not a news show. Images of past news anchors at the end of the show (Murrow, Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley) made Katie look all the worse by comparison.
    The editorializing nature of the show was underscored by the interview with Thomas Friedman, a persistent and caustic Bush critic at the New York Times. Katie couldn’t get a historian or someone with a more objective viewpoint? She has to inaugurate her show with a broadcast journalist interviewing a print columnist? That’s news? The show was op-ed, start to finish. I can’t imagine that CBS has a hit on its hands in this turkey.
    I admit that I am ideology-driven and hardly unbiased. But Katie and CBS had a chance to reach out to a lot of viewers like me who were hoping CBS might have learned something from the Dan Rather debacle. They had their shot and they blew it.

  10. You are right Thom – CBS spent $15 million on Katie, so you’d think they’d put a few thousand on a creative mind to come up with a better sign off. Missed the principle of “End with a bang, not a whimper.”

  11. Bert-
    You are right on. It was the most over hyped half hour in TV history. It was “fine”, but nothing more.
    She blew it with all the buzz about her “sign off” by not having one. She had six months to come up with one. To say “I couldn’t think of one, but if you have an idea, email me” was weak. She should have picked one and gone for it. It could not have been worse than when Dan Rather tried to end with “courage” (yikes).
    CBS spent a lot of money for nothing.