Originality…Couric Needs Some



Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the walk this morning that kicked my ass…maybe it’s that I’m coming down with something.

I left work today around 1 p.m. feeling feverish and chilled and achy. I got home and didn’t even change out of my work clothes or take off my make-up…I just crawled under the covers and fell asleep.

Four hours later…

I woke up at a quarter after 5 p.m. and stumbled out of bed…groggy and nauseated. I had wanted to see Katie Couric’s first night as the CBS Evening News anchor and was pissed that I had missed the beginning of the telecast. But I managed to shuffle to the living room and catch the last little bit of the historic broadcast of America’s first female network news anchor.

After viewing the program…I can say with conviction that…yep…I still can’t stand Katie Couric.

I’ve never gotten how folks think she’s so perky and cute. I find her subversive and manipulative. There is nothing about her demeanor that makes her a good news anchor…in my opinion.

I find her injection of opinion through comments and/or inflection to be so far removed from what a journalist should present to the public…but, I guess, she really is not to blame.

Most of the journalists today (print and broadcast) have managed to stomp all over the unbiased nature that was once their credo. They’ve managed to twist the role of public watchdog into a platform for their own agenda. The viewing/reading audience deserves to get the undigested news served to them…and they should never know whether a journalist is conservative or liberal.

As a former reporter…it really, truly bothers me.

One ironic part of the broadcast tonight came near the end with a new segment called “freeSpeech.” This part of the show will feature various people (from knowns to unknowns) who will spout their feelings on various topics. Tonight featured “Supersize Me” documentary maker Morgan Spurlock (whom I love). He shared his thoughts on how the American public is constantly manipulated and cajoled by the media at large…trying to raise ires and create points and counterpoints that most people in this country could care less about.

I actually thought he was right on target…I just thought his credibility was lost by sharing such a thought on a NEWS show…didn’t that directly oppose the point he was trying to make?

And all that aside…what place does a segment like “freeSpeech” have in a news broadcast? Isn’t that more of a function of shows like Dateline or 20/20?

Just give me the damn news.

Anyway…the “news”cast ended with Couric resting her rump on the news desk (Katie, you ain’t Michelle Pfieffer in the “Fabulous Baker Boys”…get yer ass back in your chair) and explaining how she hadn’t yet come up with an appropriate sign-off for her nightly newscasts.

Clips were then shown of newscasters from over the years giving trademark sign-offs…from news greats like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite to ficticious buffoons like Ted Baxter and Ron Burgundy. This time I laughed at the irony.

And then…I kid you not…after the clip, Couric asked the viewing audience to log on to CBS.com and give suggestions as to what her sign-off should be.


A. Who gives a crap?

B. Why can’t Couric come up with her own damn catch phrase?

C. Who gives a crap?

D. Have we become such a reality-TV-based society that we have to have a part in coining a catch phrase for a news anchor?

E. Seriously…WHO GIVES A CRAP!?

So…Katie…if you really want the help…allow me to submit my suggestion here…

I’m Katie Couric…and even though I’m the first female network news anchor and have a lot to prove for my gender…I will continue to mount my desktop like a tart…I will wear heavy make-up…I will introduce non-news segments on this “formulaic” news show…and I will ask the public to write what comes out of my mouth instead of showing that I have a brain in my head…so…for all of us here at CBS Evening News…good night…and good luck to me…I’m gonna need it.


32 Responses to “Originality…Couric Needs Some”

  1. NOLAgirl Says:

    And ….. this is why I don’t watch national news broadcasts. Local news gets on my nerves too, believe me, but more for the corny factor. (are all weathermen total corny nerds??)

    Oh, and reason No. 1,458 that I didn’t go into broadcast journalism!

  2. TALK! Says:

    Yes…weathermen are all corny nerds.

    I’m convinced it’s because they KNOW they are usually going to be wrong and it’s hard to hate on a lovable teddy bear personality.

    However…have you seen this guy? Mark Mathis is an idiot.

  3. NOLAgirl Says:

    When I click the link it brings me back to the comments page. Am I dumb?


    Also, meant to say in my first reply that I hope you’re feeling better! You poor gal.

  4. TALK! Says:

    No…I am.

    Here is the correct link.

    Obviously I’m not on my game tonight.

  5. double d Says:

    I officially cannot stand Katie Couric. Never could. Not to worry, if Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer can’t make it on primetime news, Katie sure won’t.

  6. TALK! Says:

    Ha…from your lips, DD.

    I actually respect Diane so much more than the other two.

  7. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I don’t know anything about what it takes to be a good journalist (at least in these times), so I really shouldn’t put in my 2 cents…but I think Katie is cute and funny.

    Maybe Katie could get a talk show and then I could watch her be cute and funny on that…and Shelley could replace her on the nightly news and show everyone what integrity and impartiality is all about. Gaw! I’m a GENIUS!

  8. nolagirl Says:

    They had the “Katie Couric discussion” on my radio show this morning. Kidd Kraddick was totally not having it, much like you Shelley, and the others on the show were telling him to chill and at least give her a chance. He was saying it’s not *her* per se, but the whole dumbing down of national news that is the most annoying. They also made fun of her lame “go online to pick my sign-off” deal.

  9. TALK! Says:

    Bama…your idea is genius. Basically…I should run all media…and the world.

    It would be a much happier place…with more ice cream and, definitely, more Taylor.


    NOLA…that’s really about how I feel. It’s not Katie on the news…it’s the “news” that really bothers me.

  10. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Do you think maybe because the news these days is so awful…so putaguntoyourhead depressing that they kind of have to fill it with fluff so we don’t go crazy with despair?

    Just wondering.

  11. nolagirl Says:

    Perhaps Bama, but IMO, they should report what is the news, and leave it up to the public how much or how little they want to see/listen to. Fluff like Baby Suri on network national news is not what the journalist greats had in mind, I don’t think. But … they brought up a good point on my radio show this morning, something that I now remember learning in some journalism class: Networks never intended their news departments to be money-makers, they were just their to report the news, as their “duty.” But now ratings matter. And cashing in on the Baby Suri Watch seems to be what they have had to go to in order to compete with the oodles of news sources out there that people could be watching.

  12. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Your radio show, is my radio show too. As a matter of fact, I might go down on Friday (since I’m off) to see Blue October. I’m a huge fan of them….even if pop-music radio currently has their single in it’s evil clutches.

    I’m a channel flipper. I watch a little news here and flip when they start on something I’m not interested in. I want to hear what is actually going on in the world too…but I usually just read it in the paper or online. I can’t handle the images I see. I’m too sensitive…awwww…..

  13. TALK! Says:

    Bama…I assure you…adding “fluff” to the evening news has nothing to do with compassion on behalf of the networks. NOLA’s right…it’s all about ratings…and making money.

    The funny thing is…even today…most print journalists earn near poverty level. I know I did. In 1992, when I graduated from college, my first job paid me only $14,500 a year.

    I’m not saying that newspapers as a whole are better than television stations…especially national papers.

    But…if you know that reporter covering a story is earning a mere pittance of a salary…then you should take some comfort in knowing that they, more than likely, are in the business because they care about informing people.

    Many (not all, mind you) of the rookie broadcast journalists are more concerned about their hair and how they can further their career.

    The sad thing is…most people get their news from television because it’s cheap (you don’t even need cable) and easy (spoonfed to you).

    I worked more than 10 years as a reporter and 8 years in P.R. So I’ve dealth with print and broadcast news teams from both sides of the fence.

    More often than not…a broadcast journalist is only looking for that one quick quote to tell a story. But most stories worth telling need more than one quick quote.

    And, for the record, in my experience…all reporters WILL at some time screw up a news story…either get a name or title or fact or number wrong (etc.)…but between broadcast and print…broadcast is at least 4 times as prone to make mistakes because of their rush and because they never take time to understand what they are saying. Print journalists have to more accurate because their words are printed and put out their for people to reference for years to come.

    As a matter of fact…I was Googling myself the other day and was blown away when I came across an article I had written about the shrimp industry in Biloxi more than 10 years ago…before the Internet was popular. It’s now being quoted on some site…with my name beside it.

    That’s why I think credibility and factualness and unbias is SO damn important. Reporters are literally the historians of our time. Unbiased accuracy is of the utmost importance.

  14. nolagirl Says:

    LOL I love how I call it MY radio show like I own them! I can share Kidd, I *guess*. πŸ˜‰

    I heard them talking about Blue October today – should I know who they are? (apparently I am out of the loop)

    Hijacking a bit, but what did you think of Radio Dream Job?

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shelley, I can see you are impassioned…a little…on the subject. πŸ˜‰

    Ummm…yeah. That’s why I mostly read my news. Sure it’s b/c I’m sensitive to pictures/film, etc…but also, I’m a reader, and I tend to trust writers…

    Also, I wasn’t suggesting that “they” fluff things up out of compassion…but to make it more palatable for the masses. I guess I was making a point for marketing and ratings…I just didn’t flesh out my comment.

  16. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Nola- I liked Radio Dream Job. I was sooo tuned in everyday to hear the drama…I just wish Morgan had won. I don’t know why they think she’s like Kelly and Whatsherface isn’t. I mean Kelly is flirty, girly, whiny and thinks more of herself than she is…sounds a lot like Taylor to me. Morgan was waaay more interesting…to me at least.

  17. TALK! Says:

    Sorry, Bama…I should have read more carefully.

    I’ll shut up about it now. ;o)

  18. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Naw! I went off for like days and days about JT and killin’ poor lil’ allicrocs! This is your thing! Bring the heat. I can take it. If I can’t, I’ll git out da kitchen!

  19. nolagirl Says:

    I agree, Shelley – I like this discussion. It is interesting to see the differing opinions, and it’s interesting to take what you learned “in the classroom” and see how it really works out there.

    (oh, and $14,500?? *gulp* Guess I’ll stop bitching about my crappy salary right about now!)


    Bama – I liked Morgan too. I think they used the “she’s too much like Kellie” thing as an excuse. What they really wanted to say it simply “We like Taylor better.” At least that’s what I think. I wonder if that radio guy is really going to help her with a career in radio.

    Oh, and speaking of being sensitive. Do you listen to all the Kidd’s Kids stories? Talk about emotional!

  20. TALK! Says:

    As if $14,500 wasn’t sad enough…you wanna know what my first Christmas bonus was?

    Our editor’s hobby was clipping coupons so…because the paper couldn’t afford raises or bonuses…he gave all his reporters one brown paper sack full of groceries.

    The funniest part is that you never knew what you’d get.

    For me it was a bottle of Worchestershire, a bottle of mustard, some canned goods and a canned ham.

    He actually apologized when he gave out his gifts. He was the sweetest man ever. His name is Gary Holland. He now works at The Sun Herald in Biloxi/Gulfport.

    The next year I got a 5 percent raise…just enough to put me in a higher tax bracket…which promptly reduced my monthly income.


  21. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Awww..that Christmas story is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. It brought a tear to my eyeball.

    I sure hope ur making more $$ than that now. That’s incredible! Strippers make that in a week!

    Nola- Sometimes Kidd and crew are so shallow. That’s why they picked Taylor…and hired JC…b/c he’s young and cute…but he’s sooo boring! I miss Rich like I would miss oxygen if it were taken from me!

  22. TALK! Says:

    I’m making slightly better. πŸ™‚

    But I think I’m destined to never feel the warmth of the elusive Christmas bonus.

    I started the job I’m at now in October. In December it was announced that the company couldn’t afford bonuses (which, apparently had been very generous in the past).

    Everyone was upset…but me.

    I figured I had cursed the place and laughed because at least at the paper…I got mustard and ham.


  23. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Ham…good. Bonus…bad.

  24. patrickkadiddlehopper Says:

    I’ve got a sign-off for her………. SHAZAM!!!
    Or maybe ZANG-ZA-DAN!!! But seriously who needs another section of news every day? “freeSpeech” is one of the most dad-gum original things I’ve ever heard…not. I agree with you talk, just gimme some news.

  25. TALK! Says:

    Right on…P. Diddle!

  26. Quossum Says:

    Shelley, sorry to hear you’re feeling bad! I hate these summer colds. I just got over one myself.

    Luckily (I guess), I have no idea who Katie Couric is, but if *I* were to have a news program, my sign-off would be…

    “Good night, and cue curtain.” (cue…Q…get it?)


  27. TALK! Says:

    Good one, Q. I love it. πŸ˜‰

    Okay…I gotta know how you don’t know who Katie Couric is? You kill me. πŸ˜‰

  28. Quossum Says:

    Well, I used context clues to figure out that she’s some dumb reporter. How’d I do?

    hee hee…despite what a near-fatal addiction to American Idol might seem to indicate, I don’t watch much TV at all. My students are always mystified by this!


  29. TALK! Says:

    I’m mystified as well.

    But I love ya…so all is good. πŸ™‚

  30. nolagirl Says:

    Whoa. I am beyond mystified about the Katie Couric thing too, y’all.

    Q, please tell me you know who Oprah is.

    Please. πŸ˜‰

  31. TALK! Says:

    NOLA…prepare for the worst.


  32. NOLAgirl Says:

    Shelley, are you serious? How about Dr. Phil? Maybe? πŸ˜‰

    Q!!!!! Where are you???

    I’m skeered.

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