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.”

Keith Olbermann Was Wrong About Political Donations

First and foremost I want to state upfront that what Keith Olbermann does on his MSNBC show “Countdown” is no more journalism than what Bill O’Reilly does on FAUX News.  They are both personalities that take a partisan side of an issue and present information and entertainment with it. 

That does not make it a news show. 

Do we learn something along the way? 

Bits and pieces, and since I watch Olberman I can claim some insight from his shows when hearing from reporters who are interviewed.  But this is not a news show aimed for any objectivity.  Nor is the program done by O’Reilly.

We all know that.

So let us not confuse what they do with the work Katie Couric, NPR, or the “Newshour” on PBS achieves.   Real reporters and journalists make up the three just listed.  

There are many steps to the making of a real news show, and no one can seriously claim at either MSNBC or FAUX News they are in that business.  They impart information, but they lack the totality of making what they do top-notched journalism.

Having said that however, comes the rules and regulations that MSNBC had made clear about how far out of the box those on MSNBC could stray with political acts.  All news operations have to have such guidelines.  All the hosts on these networks are big-time enough to understand the need for such rules, and should all be smart enough to follow them.

Everyone knows about the all-out blurring of lines with FAUX News and the Republican Party.  That is what makes the Keith Olbermann story more upsetting.  While FAUX News allows several presidential contenders to be on-air partisan attack dogs on a regular basis, and makes no bones about the money they funnel to the GOP, it is clear why some lines have to be drawn and followed.  When they are not, well……we end up with FAUX News!

When NPR released Juan Williams for his anti-muslim remarks a few weeks ago I was in agreement with the action as the highly regarded news operation needed to insure that the work they do retains both objectivity and credibility.  To the degree that MSNBC needs to rise to the level they aspire to should not be undermined by an anchor, who though topped rated, thought he could do whatever he desired.

No on is surprised that Keith Olbermann is a liberal Democrat. 

I am however surprised how Keith Olbermann thinks he can bend rules that are in place for a reason.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper To Be Traded For CBS’s Katie Couric?

If America can have our first black American president, why can’t we also have our first gay anchor during an evening news broadcast at a major TV network? 

The savvy and much admired Anderson Cooper from CNN is rumored to become the face of CBS News.  Cooper has proved his journalistic credentials over the years at CNN, and will bring a new and rejuvenating energy with him to CBS. 

Katie Couric never had the needed ‘heft’ and creditably for the job as anchor.  She will do much better in an interview format, which she has proved to be highly skilled.

I can only hope these rumors prove to be true.  And soon.

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Katie Couric Might Leave CBS Anchor Role In Weeks

Having never thought that Katie Couric was a good fit as the anchor for the CBS Evening News, I was not surprised to read the news today of a possible decision soon to replace her as anchor.  This comes just days after it was announced that finally she would get her own chance to moderate a presidential debate on CBS April 27th from North Carolina.  I had wondered when she would get a chance to do what every other anchor had done this campaign season.

The news today about her possible exit as anchor comes after awful ratings for the once proud CBS news division.  To be fair to Couric, the anchor role  was not the best way to showcase her better skills as an interviewer.  But I still think the return of the anchor chair to a more solid type of reporter is a great idea for CBS.

As The New York Times reports today there is plenty of speculation about her future.

However, rumors from CBS News and reported in the news media may have, inadvertently or not, done what the meeting failed to do: ensured Ms. Couric’s early departure.

Though some people close to Ms. Couric, as well as some professional associates, said Thursday they believed that it was now likely she would not remain as anchor through the election, and might even leave in the next few weeks, that point was adamantly denied by the senior executives closest to the decision.

“Katie is absolutely going to continue as anchor until the inauguration and very possibly beyond that,” one said.

The executives involved in the situation said that no discussions of Ms. Couric’s future had taken place since the February meeting. Yet the news that she and CBS were even considering an end to the first effort to have a woman as the primary anchor of a network news division surfaced in press reports in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere on Thursday, creating a situation that appeared to leave Ms. Couric vulnerable.

“She’s not a definite lame duck,” a senior executive who has been close to the situation said. “Nothing is decided.”

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