By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

All Katie, all the time

Joanna Weiss has a good piece in today’s Boston Globe on the role played by the Boston-based National Ministry of Design in putting together the set for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” which, at long last, debuts at 6:30 p.m. today.

Anyone who’s observed the redesign process for a newspaper can tell you that manic attention to appearances is not unique to TV news. Still, the details Weiss reveals almost make you wonder whether anyone is paying as much attention to the content of the newscast as they are to how it will look.

And as Syracuse University’s ever-quotable Robert Thompson observes, the feminized set that will be unveiled today may not be the smartest idea in the world. “I would think they would want to make this look like good old rough journalism, which Katie is perfectly capable of doing,” Thompson tells Weiss. “They don’t want to make this look like it’s somehow a soft and cuddly evening news.”

Over at the CBS News Web site, it’s all Katie, all the time today. Among the features is an interview Harry Smith did with Couric for the network’s morning show. At one point, Smith notes that some observers have wondered whether Couric can make the leap from the fluffier morning environment even though few asked such questions about Charlie Gibson, who recently made precisely that move at ABC. Couric responds that there is “some residual sexism” in the business, and that “women are judged by different standards.” Moments later, Smith refers to Couric as a “girl,” prompting Couric to laugh and sarcastically reply to the mortified Smith, “Thank you for calling me a girl.”

There’s also a video conversation between Couric and outgoing anchor Bob Schieffer, a blog, a podcast, RSS feeds and more.

The best news is that the video stream is supposed to be on the Web after the news is over. So if I’m not home by 6:30 (Media Nation, sadly, is TiVo-free), I’ll still be able to see it.

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  1. Fleegle

    When did you learn Couric was replacing Rather? I am amazed. Is she still on the Today show? Isn’t Today on NBC? Wow! And TV is so relevant.

  2. Stella

    With Freston being rudely bounced KC’s sell-by date leapt forward. Tom was a booster of the skirts for shirts thinking, which went south with the recent ratings. C’est la vie!

  3. Don

    The question isn’t whether the set is “pretty,” it’s whether we can take Katie Couric (or CBS) seriously.

  4. Man Who's a Jon Stewart

    Katie will be presenting “content”? That’s news to me!! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.I’m not sure the question is whether we take Couric seriously…it more whether America takes the concept of the evening news seriously anymore. I suspect only one demographic still does, and it’s beyond “old” and is rapidly approaching “dead”.The saddest thing is that the handful of times I catch a nightly network newscast, I’m saddened to realize the fake news stories on the Daily Show are usually better researched and “anchored”.

  5. Peter Porcupine

    I’m sending Linda Ellerbee a bottle of vodka to drown her sorrows….

  6. A Box of Rain

    Dan, I think the larger question is, “Who cares?” The evening news is irrelevant.

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