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Posts Tagged ‘Katie Couric’

Japanese suffering brings out the worst in our national media

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I first read via Twitter sometime on Friday that some network anchors were making their way to Japan to “cover” the disaster there.  My first literal reaction was one of disgust.  This sums it up perfectly:

[L]et’s call this what it is: A publicity stunt, a star-system celebrity-status game where it’s not enough to let reporters do the reporting, but instead the networks want to send their Famous Faces With Big Names.

The purpose is to signify that this is really important news and that their anchors aren’t just Pretty People who read a Teleprompter in a Manhattan TV studio but are actual honest-to-God journalists.   It’s like how, when TV news does a story about Congress, it’s important that the reporter be on camera with the Capitol dome in the background — “See? He’s really there at the Capitol, covering Congress!” — even if what he’s reporting is just stuff that anybody could have picked up off the AP wire.

So now we’ll get to watch footage of Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper walking through scenes of earthquake-and-flood devastation, because it’s important for the networks that we see this story “reported” by their $4-million-a-year superstars.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  There’s nothing more important to these people than self-aggrandizement and a desire to feel relevant in an environment that with each passing day, finds them further and further behind every breaking news story.  Thank goodness for other sources of information like Twitter, from which I get the bulk of breaking news anyway.

Katie Couric answers a question, discovers that she’s irrelevant

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s some interesting insight into the mind of Katie Couric and Old Media:

In a news environment that has been irrevocably disrupted by the Internet, the role of broadcast news anchors has evolved out of necessity. Their ability to focus international awareness on the key issues of our time remains unparalleled, but the attention span and consumption habits of their audience has changed.

And so the question becomes: How will one of the nation’s most familiar faces and sources for news will adapt, adopt and become adept in the context of a news cycle that refreshes as often as a click on a Web browser? By the time Couric presents the 22 minutes of news as CBS’s anchor each evening, the Web has long since digested, analyzed and commented upon each item. There are few scoops by 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

[…]

The network evening newscasts still matter. “I’ve spent my whole career trying to ask important questions, listening, asking followup questions,” said Couric during her conversation with Tim O’Reilly. Her evening news show still receives millions of viewers every night.

The trouble is that, as Couric observed during her talk, their average age is 62. The news networks have to shift gears to be relevant in a 24/7/365 environment where young consumers watch video on demand, browse news through the recommendations and status updates of friends, and watch content on Internet-enabled mobile devices as well as glowing flat screen televisions.

[…]

Couric has joined Twitter, distributed video podcasts in iTunes, published Web-first video to CBSNews.com and launched an iPhone app.

[…]

The open question for Couric will be in whether she can leverage new media to reach new audiences and break through the information overload. Her questions to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin were unquestionably a factor in the 2008 election. The network anchors will continue to play a role in holding policy makers and presidential candidates accountable, because of their access. But the days of towering figures like Cronkite, Brinkley, Chancellor, Brokaw or Jennings letting the nation know “the way it is” are over.

I’m hard pressed to find any real reason that Couric became anchor of CBS Evening News other than that she was a popular face on NBC’s Today show.  That was in 2006, which might as well be decades ago when it comes to new media.  The bottom line is, there really isn’t much there but fluff.

So yeah, she’s joined Twitter, producing podcasts, etc., and therefore, thinks she’s important to the process of how most people get their information. Who’s downloading a Katie Couric podcast?  And I haven’t checked but I’m sure she has a blog on the CBS website.  Who’s reading that to get anything relevant that’s not filtered through Viacom/CBS Corp. spin cycle?