Off Topic: Katie Couric and the CBS Evening News

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Most Americans know now that CBS launched its Evening News with Katie Couric last night. The event was noteworthy for several reasons: first female “permanent” anchor, simultaneous webcast, anchor blog and “user-generated content” (inviting viewers to help pick the closing/sign off).

Also striking was Alessandra Stanley’s review in the NY Times (reg req’d). In fact the Times ran several items on the debut. This morning the Stanley article was juxtaposed by a skyscraper ad for . . . the CBS news with Katie Couric inviting users to watch clips (it’s not there now). The barrier between editorial and advertising is gone online.

But here is a very strange paragraph from the Stanley article:

The woman who stood out most last night was CBS’s chief foreign-affairs reporter, Lara Logan, an experienced and unusually pretty war correspondent who took a daring trip into Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan wrapped in a black chador. (my emphasis)

Say what?

Think about how strange that would’ve seemed if the byline had been a man’s. (For example, check out this line-crossing review of Julia Roberts’ Broadway debut in the NY Times.)

With that strange (and maybe inappropriate) description I had to see what Lara Logan looked like. I first went to AOL Video but had trouble with some of the clips and the player. I then went to YouTube and confirmed that she is attractive (but also extremely articulate and smart). I wound up watching a very interesting interview in which she rebutted the Bush Admin’s spin and complaints about negative press coverage in Iraq.

The point here is that I saw a reference in an online newspaper article and within a minute I was on a third party site watching video about that reference.

To step back, my choices of which video sites I went to were interesting. I don’t know why exactly but I assumed first that AOL would have the coverage/footage. I then went to YouTube because of its apparent/perceived comprehensiveness (a la Google). I subsequently checked on Google Video and didn’t quickly find any footage of Logan. I also later checked MSN and Yahoo Video. They did have Logan footage but I found what I was looking for on YouTube and so didn’t have to visit those sites.

Couric’s debut apparently was a ratings success. And that is reflected — and could have been predicted (this is Bill Tancer’s refrain) — from search volume. See the Yahoo! Buzz Index, which has the CBS Evening News as the #2 search query and Katie Couric at #10.

So this shows another dynamic in action: users being triggered by one (traditional) medium to search on relevant keywords online. Thus illustrating the now symbiotic relationship between “old” and “new” media.


3 Responses to “Off Topic: Katie Couric and the CBS Evening News”

  1. Howard Owens Says:

    In my own blogging, I’ve become a bit obsessed with YouTube. More and more I’m convinced, and your post is more evidence, that YouTube is the greatest thing on the Internet yet. Better, even, than Google. It is comprehensive. It is the ultimate long tail. It is the barometer on our culture now. It is where new and unique can find a place in the media landscape. And it’s video, not text.

  2. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    My Katie-driven online activity was a quick click over to to check out the elusive Suri Cruise-Holmes. Am I the only one amazed by how much hair she has?!

    Greg’s Lara Logan search inspired to conduct a similar search for katie Couric. 8 out of the first 10 results from our cultural barometer focus on Ms Couric’s legs and mini-skirts… 😉

  3. Malcolm Lewis Says:

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