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.