Lunch Keynote with Katie Couric, Interviewed by Lisa Stone


Katie Couric
Lisa Stone

Lisa: Hello everyone, it's an absolute pleasure to welcome to BlogHer, award winning journalist and writer, Katie Couric!

Katie: I love the smell of estrogen in the morning, there's a lot of it in here today!

Katie: I found this little sparkly thing in the morning coming in, it's a shiny silver unicorn. Heard you all have been doing a little partying while here.

Lori: It was destiny that you walked out of the car it was like ta-da!

Lisa: So Katie.

Katie: Yes Lisa,

Lisa: In September you are staring your new show, you have dominated everything else, are you ready to dominate this?

Katie: I'm very excited, I don't know if I want to be the daytime dominatrix or not, but, I’m very excited, I'm trying to get the best of people, trying to deliver really useful information is great. The idea of being able to talk to news maker, celebrity, is exciting. I want it to feel like a community, like BlogHer has a community. I think a lot of subjects are being short changed.

I have really smart friends that are interesting, curious, and sometimes I feel like they are not being served. I think there is always room for more smart conversations. The idea of flexing my muscles and being able to talk to people like Hilary Clinton, post-traumatic stress, and whether we are serving our veterans like we really should be are all important conversations. And fun stuff too. We are doing a whole show on hair.
because of my personal like experiences, I’ve learned a lot along the way, whether it's raising for teenage daughters which is really "so much fun" or caring for an aging parent. Cultural trends, how tech is changing relationships.

Lisa: Do you want to call talk about social media and how you intend to use social media?

Katie: I can't even call it new media anymore, but I really enjoy social media.

Unlike the Today Show, people used to say to me, I feel like I know you, and I tell them, well, you actually do, you've seen me lose my husband to cancer, seen me raise my two girls, and fly across the stage as Peter Pan.
So I started to do twitter so that I could engage with people. I really enjoy social media.

I really want social media to be part of this new show. We created a website, we want people to really engage. We are going to have two seats for female bloggers at every show. We want to hear from their community. We want to have input from them, and hear from them some of the things they are doing. And this is an incredible resource for us. We used to hear stuff before, comments about my hair, and it's just a great way to get instant feedback. We are doing the show at 2 pm, and we will solicit questions from people on Facebook and twitter. And I tried this at CBS, but sometimes traditional media is slow to get it.

Lisa: You've been really good with social media, even on CBS, and you've been active on @katiecouric, tell us about that.

Katie: Yes, we've been corresponding on @katiecouric, AND we are doing some early test shows next week.

Lisa: Well we have a clip, let's take a look


Katie: Our theme song was written by Sheryl crow and I reached out to her and we sat down and talked about what the show would be about the kind of environment, theme we wanted to create, and I am thrilled we were able to.

Lisa: You mentioned cancer, and I wanted to talk to you about how open you were willing to be, and you did a colonic.

Katie: Well you can imagine at 41 how it felt to learn that your husband has been diagnosed after being so healthy, active. He never even smoked a cigarette so when he passed away in January 1998, I felt a responsibility to educate people that were watching the Today Show how much it can be avoided, and diagnosed early. After I did the colonoscopy, they since saw a 20% increase in it.

I started an organization, Stand Up to Cancer, with eight other women and we have raised over 100 million. Cancer research can be so propriety. We have a dream team together and all their clients and researcher and working together and using all their collaborative resources to try and move science faster and i want to see cancer move forward faster.

Lisa: You mentioned the politics involved in something like cancer and with the upcoming election, we've gotten a lot of questions from bloggers on twitter. Can a journalist use social media to convey political messages in an effective way?

Katie: All I can say is that advocacy journalist, as a consumer in journalism, you don't just gravitate to blogs that are reflective one opinion, I try to read NY Times editorial page and [Wall Street] editorial page so that I can see different perspectives.

I think that we can have different perspectives, civil discourse. I think it is important respect people from different points of view. When journalism does on one hand this and on one hand that...

Lisa: You won a Walter Cronkite award with your interview with Sarah Palin, -- clapping -- what were you feeling during the interview?

Katie: They had made a decision that Sarah Palin would do a few interviews with network anchors and I wanted to focus on foreign policy since she had met with several foreign leaders, so I wanted to get a feeling of what her thoughts were and her position was. I felt bad for her because I think she was having a hard time that day, and you have to have ice water running through your veins and I think it was really a difficult thing to ask her questions that I would have asked any candidate, male or female, so it was difficult. But on a personal level, I thought, this is the person that would have been a heartbeat away from the president.

Lisa: I saw your picture where you were talking to Gloria Steinem and you were sitting with your legs crossed and you were talking bout such an important issue.

How do you balance all the demands in your life and how do you feel when other women tell you about being a mom, describe motherhood, and tell what you should do with your kids.

Katie: I feel she made some good points in that article and I think that at some point we need to get beyond the culture wars, the mommy wars, and all that BS. I interviewed Ann Marie and she told me that many CEOS were reaching out to try and find out how they could make the work place a better place for moms. And I met with the ACLU and they are working with a program to help employees with aging parents.

I always felt uncomfortable with the how do you do it questions because Brian Williams never gets asked that question. And we should be thinking about women with lower socio-economic because as I’m sure you have read, I’m well compensated so I have a live in Nanny, who for ten years, took care of things that I couldn't take care of while I was working. And I feel very lucky that they turned out the way they did, just so lucky.

Lisa: How old are the girls?

Katie: Ellie just turned 21 (she's legal!!) and Carrie is 16, going to be a junior in high school.

Lisa: Are your daughters interested journalism or politics?

Katie: No, kind of disappointing, my husband was a lawyer so I think I’m going to talk to Ellie to see what she plans to do she just got back from Thailand. Carrie wants to be a teacher.

Lisa: We've been getting a lot of questions about your guns (meaning arms).

Katie: I’m a gymnast, and I think that I’m not a big runner, I’m kind of lazy... (clapping) let's hear it for the lazy people! I started spinning and I really love it, and we sometimes do arm exercises and I don't lift weights. I think I'm in menopause, my eyes are dry, and I hear that you can gain weight so I’m thinking okay great, I’m starting this new show, so I try to be careful on what I eat. I don't diet; I think diets make you fat. If you're like me, I eat one cookie and then I think, I blew it, so then I eat 12 more. NO! So with Weight Watchers, I can eat one and put in this column because I know I get 49 more points!

Lisa: Have you ever thought about running for office?

Katie: No, my sister ran for office before she passed away from cancer, and my dream was to always interview her when she made it, to interview it. But to be honest, politics has become such a blood sport and I don't think I could do that.

I talk bout policy and how we can live better lives, and I try to live my live honestly, and I don't really see talking about the way live our lives as policy. I am going to talk about serious issues on my show and I am keeping my fingers crossed that people want a smart conversation.

Lisa: Do you guys want a smart conversation? {Clapping} Do women want to learn more than how to cook a chicken in five minutes?

Katie: If you build your program in compelling way, and think about being authentic. I read Daryl’s post about BlogHer and women finding their own voice, and I have to trust that I want to hear.

Lisa: Do you have any advice for women finding their own voice?

Katie: I was thinking I should watch Jane Pauly but then I realized I’m my own person and I think that I need to rely on my gut and be the person that I am and not what i think people should think I am.

Lisa: Can you give us any hints on what we'll see staring in September?

Katie: If I told, I’d have to kill you. No, I’m really excited, we have some really great guests but also, I’m really moved by ordinary people that have overcome extraordinary circumstances. I feel like if we come together and filter through all the info we are getting.

Lisa: I think that is great that you are willing to come here, to talk to us, and we've been asking.

So we talked to your producers and have asked them how bloggers can write for your website or send your ideas and I was told that if you all tweet @katieshow you can and promote yourself, a post and Katie will be happy to hear from them.