Interviewing Katie Couric about Political Journalism, Future of Network Newscasts

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Earlier this week I had the privilege of interviewing Katie Couric, who just won an Alfred I. duPont award for her series of interviews with former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Having grown up watching Couric on “The TODAY Show,” I was excited to talk with her by phone about her career as a journalist and the future of her craft. Talking with her brought back memories of standing outside the NBC Studio in New York City as a little girl, hoping I could see her during a filming of “The TODAY Show.”

My mom, dad and I used to go to New York City every couple of years. We’d often wake up early when we were there so we could get a good spot outside of the studio and catch a glimpse of Couric, Matt Lauer or Al Roker. Mom loved anything that was free, so the idea of watching a nationally televised show without having to pay for tickets naturally excited her.

Talking to “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Couric on Monday made me think about Mom and about how much I’ve grown up since the days when I would admire journalists from afar. Now, as part of my job at The Poynter Institute, I’m interacting with journalists on a daily basis, finding ways to learn from them and interviewing them.

When interviewing Couric, I tried to ask as many questions as I could in the 15-20 minutes allotted. I was happy that she was so willing to share her views on political journalism, the future of network newscasts and more.

You can read my Q&A with Couric here:

“When Katie Couric accepted the Alfred I. duPont award last week for her series of interviews with former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, she said, ‘The much derided MSM — main stream media — clearly still has a role in these increasingly partisan times.’

“I spoke with Couric, ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor and managing editor, by phone on Monday to hear more about that role, what she learned from her interviews with Palin and her thoughts on political journalism and the future of network news. An edited transcript of our talk appears below.”