Katie Couric‘s Final “CBS Evening News” Broadcast May 19th

And this is the way it will be.

TVNewser has learned Katie Couric‘s final “Evening News” broadcast will be next Thursday, May 19. Couric’s contract with CBS runs until June 4. A source tells TVNewser, no further announcement about Couric’s future is immediately forthcoming.

Real News Reporter, Scott Pelley, To Anchor CBS Evening News

Now this is good news.

Scott Pelley is the new anchor of CBS News. Not that he wants you to focus on that. Howard Kurtz talks to the network’s reluctant frontman about a “news is the star” approach in today’s celebrified age.

Scott Pelley asked that his name not be put in the title of the CBS Evening News.

“I lost that fight,” he says.

He’s also asked management not to launch a publicity campaign when he makes his debut as the network’s new anchor on June 6. And why is that?

“Because it’s not about me…The anchor is the least important part of it, if you ask me.”

Wait, there’s more: “I sometimes think the cult of personality surrounding anchor people at all the networks goes too far.”

You may be getting the impression by now that Scott Pelley is no Katie Couric. He is a dogged correspondent with a serious demeanor, as self-effacing a person as you might find at the network level. “TV anchors get far too much credit for the work of others,” he says.

The 53-year-old San Antonio native is the first to admit he’s not flashy. “I’m not much for being a personality…If you need flashy, you’ve got to go elsewhere,” he says. “I am going to speak to the audience as one of them. I hope people watch me on the broadcast and see themselves. Someone who cares deeply about the country.”

If Pelley lacks a certain degree of showmanship, that may be because he’s never been an anchor before, at any level. But he has decades of reporting experience, topped by his seven-year stint at 60 Minutes, where Pelley and his team have won 14 Emmys and five Edward R. Murrow Awards, among other prizes.

I Am Glad Katie Couric Ending Her Time At CBS Evening News

Who will be the next anchor of the CBS Evening News?  That is the big question that many are asking these days in light of the news that Katie Couric will soon be departing from the anchor desk.  I am hoping and trusting that a new anchor will be found that will be the opposite of the one being replaced.

This week, Katie Couric is finally planning to acknowledge she is leaving the CBS Evening News after five years.   Couric is in London this week, where she will be anchoring the network’s coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Next week CBS will announce her successor.

I admit to not liking Couric as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, and so am looking forward to a new chapter at the network.  I have been critical of Couric for a number of years and for a variety of reasons. 

In July 2006 I was critical of Couric’s statement that she would not report from the ‘hot spots’ in the Middle East.

When  Wisconsin Assembly Republican Minority Leader Betty Jo Nelson told her colleagues many years ago that she did not want to extend the legislative floor period in December as it would cut into her cookie baking time she gave women in her profession a black eye. When Katie Couric stated that she would not go to the Middle East war zone as CBS News anchor due to family reasons she not only gave women journalists a black eye, but sent all news professionals into chills.

There is a duty as a journalist to go where the news is and often times that means into the lion’s den.  When Frank Reynolds, Dan Rather, Edward R Murrow, and countless other news reporters ventured into war zones and international hot spots they all had loved ones they worried about.  They had personal responsibilities to attend, but knew as reporters they all had a duty to the truth.  To see the truth of war you need to see the action, talk with the combatants, and understand the nuances of the conflict that can’t be understood by sitting in a safe studio in New York.

During the opening night in September 2006 of her run as CBS News anchor I was floored when international news stories were dropped so that she could offer photos during the newscast of  Tom Cruise’s baby!

Couric did lead off with Afghanistan which featured a female reporter and allowed more time than usual for the story to be told.  But after that, there appeared to be no other international news taking place.  (In reality Calderon was announced to be the new leader of our neighbor, Mexico.  The United Nations had strong words for the Sudanese government over the Darfur crisis, and British politicians were talking like crazy over when Prime Minister Blair was set to sail from 10 Downing Street)

Couric did not have time for those stories because Tom Cruise spawned a child and I supposedly wanted to see photos.  Whatever that “photo’ part of the newscast is all about I predict it will soon be jettisoned.  It was like a Led Zeppelin song during Sunday morning services.  I have already posted my thoughts on having a commentator segment during the news, and while I applaud that move, I do think there has to be some requirement for “gravitas” and not open it up for just every person with a wedgie. 

I understand the evening news broadcasts have changed and morphed from what they once were when I was a teenager.  But I would hope that the ones making the decisions at the Tiffany Network might recall what they once were, and what they once represented, and let that guide them when making the call about the next anchor of the CBS Evening News.

Katie Couric: Anti-Muslim Bigotry “Misdirected, And So Wrong–And So Disappointing”

Excellent.   Two thumbs up for the views of Katie Couric.

“I also think sort of the chasm between, or, the bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year. Of course, a lot of noise was made about the Islamic Center, mosque, down near the World Trade Center, but I think there wasn’t enough sort of careful analysis and evaluation of where this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, and how this seething hatred many people feel for all Muslims, which I think is so misdirected, and so wrong–and so disappointing.”

Sarah Palin Scared Of Another Katie Couric Interview

Lets be clear about one thing.  Sarah Palin is a dolt.

Before you read this story lets recall one of those moments that will linger forever from Election 2008.  Remember that this video below was one of the hard questions for Sarah Palin to answer.  Which is why we know her ‘Federal Reserve” speech recently was mouthing words she had never uttered before.  Lord knows she did not know the meaning of what she said.

Now we have Sarah Palin running from potential reporters who may want to ask more questions.

Now read this. 

Media quote of the day, courtesy of former Alaskan governor-turned-vice presidential candidate-turned-author-turned-Fox News contributor and proud “Dancing With The Stars” mom, Sarah Palin, who was asked by Sean Hannity if she would ever do another interview with Katie Couric.

“As for doing an interview, though, with a reporter who already has such a bias against whatever it is that I would come out and say?  Why waste my time?  No.”

If Sarah Palin is scared to sit down with Katie Couric how would she be able to sit down with Russia’s Putin?  You know that Russia that can be seen from Palin’s house!

Sarah Palin Helped Katie Couric Win Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award

First Katie Couric helped the nation by showcasing what the term ‘inept’ fully means as she questioned the totally unprepared Sarah Palin with such hard questions as “what newspapers and magazines do you read’?  Without knowing, Sarah Palin responded in her own provincial manner, and by doing so assisted Couirc in winning a prestigious journalism award.   The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award is quite an honor.  Helping defend the nation from nitwits, such as Sarah Palin,  is just one role of a journalist, and for that Katie Couric gets much deserved praise.  In case you forgot the embarrassing interview for Palin I offer it here for a reminder, and a chuckle.  “Putin rears his head……..”

The awards program described Couric’s interviews with Palin as “a series of influential and illuminating television interviews by a skillful veteran reporter” and said:

“In a political season full of interviews…, Katie Couric’s apt and determined questioning of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin prompted the most revealing remarks and had the greatest impact on the presidential campaign…Couric’s nimble questioning and even tone elicited answers on the issues…these were the interviews heard around the world.”

 

Walter Cronkite’s Voice Missing From CBS News

What some call ‘progress’ is not always the best way forward.  Let me explain.

This past week  CBS made the decision, nearly six months after Walter Cronkite’s death, to remove his voice from the “CBS Evening News.’’ His introduction of Katie Couric was designed when she took over anchor duties, as a way to show that the time-honored standards of CBS News would continue into the future.   This week a new voice-over featuring actor Morgan Freeman is now the opening for the newscast.  While I think Freeman is one amazing actor, and very much enjoy his roles on the big screen, I think the voice of Cronkite was more fitting for the network.  At a time when journalistic standards are weakening in some cases, and more Americans question the credibility of news reports, the sound of  ‘Uncle Walter’ was a reminder that bedrock principles still matter.  He was one of those reporters who knew how to write a news story before he landed on television, and understood the necessity of getting the story right was more important than getting it first.  Some mighty important standards that still are worth their weight in gold for today’s newsrooms.  Connecting today’s news programs with the success  and admiration of reporters like Cronkite might seem old-fashioned to some.  But to many like myself who see the charm in linking the generations of reporters at CBS News, the removal of Cronkite’s voice is  another sign that we are moving forward, but losing something important on the way.

To Be Fair To Katie Couric

I have had harsh words to say about CBS News anchor Katie Couric.  But not today.  Perhaps it is the holiday season, or it could be just the fact there her ratings improvements actully show her to be making ground.  Either way, out of fairness, I think I need to post this nugget.

The “CBS Evening News” anchor remains in third place behind NBC and ABC. But the average of 7.4 million people who watched her newscast last week was better than any than any week since February 2007, five months after she moved over from NBC’s “Today” show.

That makes four straight weeks where her audience was bigger than at the same point last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It suggests that two years after the initial bad reaction viewers had to her move from “Today,” some people are giving her a second chance.

The improvement could be a result of the positive feedback Couric received for her interview of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during the presidential campaign. Palin fumbled on a question about what publications she read regularly, and the interview was a launching point for one of Tina Fey’s “Saturday Night Live” spoofs.

“Basically, she remade her reputation as a result of the Palin interview,” said Andrew Tyndall, a consultant who studies the content of nightly newscasts.