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Apr 6
The Katie Couric Debate Rages
The debate it is on. And it has surprised me a little. CBS and Katie Couric made history on their deal to bring Katie to the CBS Evening News as the first woman sole anchor.

Maybe I just don’t care enough about the evening news, but I am intrigued by the amount of buzz out there about this decision. Much of it is criticism of CBS which I have a hard time understanding. I respect anyone that is willing to innovate and take a new approach to an old situation. Apparently, not everyone agrees. Just read the comments on Vaughn Ververs editorial at CBS’ Public Eye or Marc Cooper. Jarvis at BuzzMachine is critical because it is not bold enough.

I am just a simple-minded businessman but I look at it this way. You run the news department for the perennial 3rd place winner in the 3-“man” network race. You see the world around you (traditional media) changing as blogs and other media gain share in the market for information and news. A scandal rocks your news division. Does any one here vote to “stay the course?”

CBS has found a slight renewal with Bob Shieffer as its interim anchor. Ratings at CBS have increased slightly as ratings have decreased for ABC and NBC. Schieffer has restored credibility to the once powerful news division of CBS that brought us Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace and even Dan Rather. It is afterall, the network of 60 Minutes. CBS hopes Couric pushes this renewal further.

Not everybody thinks CBS is crazy or that Couric is just "fluff."  Fox News reports that:

“Don Hewitt, the man who created 60 Minutes and carried the banner of Edward R. Murrow for decades, told me he thinks Couric will do fine as the new anchor of The CBS Evening News. Indeed, Hewitt said: ‘I tried to hire her for '60 Minutes' 10 years ago. We talked about it a lot.’ With that kind of support, Couric should be fine as she makes the transition.”

From NPR’s All Things Considered:

"A journalist who was not a fan of NBC's Today show found herself interviewed by Katie Couric... and blown away by her interviewing abilities. Now she thinks Couric would make a great evening news anchor."

And read a comment in response to Marc Cooper's post and a post at Progressive Values that looks at CBS’ ability to import personalities. There seem to be perhaps only a few voices but I will join them and give CBS some credit for making a bold move by hiring Couric. Most of the criticism against the decision is based on the fact that Couric is energetic, attractive, funny and a celebrity of sorts from her 15 years on NBC’s Today Show. How dare she!  According to serious-minded journalists and arm-chair quarterbacks, such traits disqualify her from being an authoritative, news anchor.

I suggest we wait and see. I predict that Couric will prove that she is an effective anchor and the “fluff” that she is known for on the Today Show, will be left at the Today Show. From all signals including the Washington Post, CBS is not planning to make the CBS Evening News and entertainment-based program. CBS News President Sean McManus told his staff that Couric would be doing a hard-news broadcast and that it would not turn into "Entertainment Tonight." He also addressed the skeptics on the staff, saying they should not prejudge Couric until she succeeds Bob Schieffer in September.

We should all hope this crazy “woman as anchor” thing works out. It just might bring a new perspective to news. It might cause us to look at world events differently. It might enable talented women to have more opportunities in media, politics and business. That is a risk worth taking. Who knows, it may not be all that bad.

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I take it as good news for us at Know More Media. Our talented contingent of women authors grows weekly. Each of their individual voices is unique and important to the success of our busin... [Read More]

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