Katie Couric, @katiecouric, anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News and a veteran journalist in mainstream media, discusses the pros and cons of an increasingly digital information age and the need to maintain strong ethical and factual standards as a reporter in any medium. She speaks from experience: in addition to her traditional media roles, Couric also maintains her Twitter account and hosts the weekly webshow of the same name @katiecouric.
Katie Couric is the anchor and managing editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC, a 60 MINUTES correspondent and anchor of CBS News primetime specials. When the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC debuted on September 5, 2006, Couric became the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news broadcast. The RTNDA honored the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in both 2008 and 2009. Also in 2009, USC’s Annenberg School for Communication awarded Couric with the Walter Cronkite Award for Special Achievement for “National Impact on the 2008 Campaign” and the University of South Dakota and Freedom Forum awarded Couric the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. In January 2010, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism awarded Couric the Alfred I. DuPont Award for political reporting for her 2008 interviews with Republican Vice President nominee Sarah Palin. She also writes a monthly column for GLAMOUR magazine which features an interview with a new female role model every month.
During the last 4 years, Couric has reported on and anchored newscasts and broadcasts for some of the biggest domestic and international stories and has conducted numerous exclusive newsmaker interviews including the historic 2008 Presidential election. Couric led CBS’s critically acclaimed coverage, anchoring the CBS EVENING NEWS and live primetime coverage from the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire and Ohio primaries, as well as Super Tuesday and other primary nights from CBS studios in New York.
Couric also conducted two special series of in-depth and incisive interviews during the Presidential campaign for the CBS EVENING NEWS series “Primary Questions” and “Presidential Questions.” During “Primary Questions” Couric asked the then 10 presidential primary candidates key questions which elicited more than stump speech responses. CBS then launched “Presidential Questions,” a weekly series where Couric asked both remaining candidates, Senator John McCain and President Barack Obama, the same set of questions to further explore their politics and character. Couric’s other recent specials include her coverage of the Grammys and Michael Jackson’s funeral.
During the campaign Couric launched a series of webcasts giving viewers live, exclusive Web coverage of the election and the historic beginnings of Obama’s presidency. She conducted nightly webcasts from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, election night, inauguration night and President Obama’s 100th day in office. In addition to her webcasts, Couric has developed several online content initiatives including her notebook and YouTube channel, among others. Most recently, CBS News launched @KatieCouric, a weekly webcast hosted by Couric, which features candid one-on-one interviews with top newsmakers from the worlds of politics, business, entertainment and more.
In 2007, she covered the Virginia Tech shootings for the CBS EVENING NEWS including a one-hour primetime special, and anchored an award-winning primetime special, “Flashpoint,” the story of CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, her colleagues and the U.S. soldiers she was with when they were the victims of a car bomb attack in Iraq. Couric also anchored on-site during the California wildfires and the Minneapolis bridge collapse for the CBS EVENING NEWS.
Also in 2007, Couric reported and anchored the broadcast from Iraq and Syria in advance of General Petraeus’ report to Congress on the status of “the surge.” She traveled through Fallujah and Baghdad with Generals Petraeus and Odierno, met with U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi citizens, and interviewed President Bush when he arrived in the al-Anbar Province in a surprise trip to the U.S. troops on Labor Day weekend. From Syria, Couric sat down with Syrian President Bashar Assad and questioned him on reports of diminished relations with the United States.
In November 2006, she anchored from Amman, Jordan, covering President Bush’s summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In December of that year, Couric covered the death of President Gerald Ford and, four days later, the execution of Saddam Hussein.
She has conducted numerous exclusive newsmaker interviews for the CBS EVENING NEWS and 60 MINUTES, including President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, John and Elizabeth Edwards just after their announcement that Mrs. Edwards’ cancer had returned, Israeli Foreign Prime Minister Tzipi Livin, Nora Jones and Michael J. Fox, among many others.
On May 28, 2008, Couric and her ABC News and NBC News counterparts, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams, announced on all three network morning news broadcasts an unprecedented tri-network effort to fight cancer called Stand Up To Cancer. The initiative raised philanthropic dollars for accelerating ground-breaking research and culminated in a one-hour, commercial free, simultaneous primetime program on ABC, CBS and NBC on September 5, 2008.
Couric completed a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today” on May 31, 2006. While at NBC, Couric was also contributing anchor for “Dateline NBC.” She was a “Today” substitute co-anchor from February 1991 before taking over the job permanently two months later. Couric joined NBC News in 1989 as deputy Pentagon reporter before serving its first national correspondent in June 1990, which included two stints covering the Gulf War.
Couric has covered most of the major breaking news events over the past 15 years, including the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center; the Columbine tragedy in Colorado; six Olympic Games, including the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing; the funeral of Princess Diana; the Oklahoma City bombing; the Timothy McVeigh execution; the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings; and the end of millennium coverage, which she co-anchored with Tom Brokaw.
Couric has interviewed an extraordinarily diverse collection of newsmakers, from presidents and prime ministers to captains of industry and cultural icons. She has interviewed Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, along with all of the major presidential candidates over the past several elections. Couric has also sat down with Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Sandra Day O’Connor and First Ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson. She has interviewed major world leaders including Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, Ariel Sharon, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah (in his first U.S. television interview), Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Other Couric interviews include Bill Gates; Tricia Meili, the Central Park Jogger; the last interview with John F. Kennedy, Jr.; and a myriad of other authors, politicians and newsmakers.
After losing her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998, Couric embraced the fight against the country’s number two cancer killer. In March 2000, Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in association with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Lilly Tartikoff, to fund new medical research in colorectal cancer and to conduct educational programs encouraging the prevention and early detection of the disease through proper screening. Following Couric’s on-air colonoscopy in 2000, a scientifically documented 20% increase was noted in the number of colonoscopies performed across the country. Researchers at the University of Michigan dubbed this “The Couric Effect.”
Couric received the George Foster Peabody Award for her March 2000 series on colon cancer, which also led to NBC News receiving the 2001 RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. She also has won six Emmy Awards, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award, a National Headliner Award, an Associated Press Award, a Matrix Award, two American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Awards, the Harvard University School of Public Health’s Julius B. Richmond Award and UNICEF’s Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award.
Couric also played a leadership role in establishing The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. The Monahan Center, which opened in March 2004, provides a comprehensive, fully integrated multi-disciplinary program, stressing education and prevention in addition to diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. The Monahan Center’s mission focuses on the seamless coordination of all needed care for patients and their families facing the difficult diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer. As part of her work to generate funds for both the Center and the nine scientists whose research the NCCRA supports, Couric has hosted three extremely successful benefits. The most recent, “Hollywood Meets Motown,” took place on March 15, 2006, and showcased approximately 40 film, recording industry, television and Broadway stars. These three events generated a significant portion of the almost $27 million Couric and EIF’s NCCRA have raised to date to fight colorectal and other GI cancers.
Couric was a general assignment reporter for WRC-TV Washington, D.C. (1987-89) and for WTVJ Miami (1984-86). She worked for CNN (1980-84) as an assignment editor, associate producer, producer and, ultimately, political correspondent. Couric began her broadcast journalism career as a desk assistant at ABC News in Washington, D.C. (1979).
Born in Arlington, Virginia, Couric graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on American studies. She currently lives in New York with her two daughters.
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. His original business plan was “interesting work for interesting people,” and that’s worked out pretty well. He publishes books, runs conferences, invests in early-stage startups, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.
Tim is also a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, a founder and board member of Safari Books Online and Maker Media, and on the boards of Code for America and PeerJ.