Katie Couric

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

In 2007, ABC News and Charles Gibson squeaked out a victory over Brian Williams on NBC. Both left Katie Couric of CBS a distant third. When Charles Gibson was a host on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” I liked his loosey-goosey, laid-back demeanor and obvious ease as an interviewer in front of the camera and bantering with Diane Sawyer. With the switch to ABC’s “World News Tonight,” where he replaced the urbane, upbeat Peter Jennings, Gibson seems to have purposely changed his “Good Morning America” persona. At first he became the kindly country doctor of my childhood—Hop Allison—who used to make house calls. Lately I

I am a news junkie. My take on cable and network news coverage: • Dullest newscaster: Wolf Blitzer • Best newscaster: Mika Brzezinski • Most miscast newscaster: Katie Couric • Best interviewer: Tim Russert • Worst interviewer: Chris Matthews • Most fascinating: Chris Matthews • Most irritating: Chris Matthews The Chris Matthews Enigma Chris Matthews, star of “Hardball” (MSNBC, weeknights) and “The Chris Matthews Show” (NBC, weekends), may be the smartest guy on television. He is an expert on history and politics (he was top dog on the staff of legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill for a number of years), knows everybody in Washington, and can drop historical nuggets into a conversation

A couple of weeks ago, I read that the final article by David Halberstam, who was killed in an automobile crash outside San Francisco on April 23, was available on the Vanity Fair Web site. As a long-time customer and admirer of Halberstam’s work, I wanted to read it. I found “The History Boys” and downloaded it for free. It was scheduled to appear in the August 2007 Vanity Fair and I—a nonsubscriber to the magazine—was able to access it long before it arrived on newsstands or in the mailboxes of paying subscribers. That meant I—a Web junkie—could discuss it at a dinner

On June 6, 2006, I devoted these pages to the tectonic change in the CBS Evening News. The piece was titled “WOMEN TAKE OVER AT LAST! With Couric and Logan on Board at CBS, Maybe the Evening News Will Come Alive.” With CBS paying Couric $15 million a year and spending $2.9 million for a new set, I had high hopes that she and her electric, articulate chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, would bury their tedious male competitors. Alas, a year later the program is moribund, with lower ratings than those garnered by temporary anchor Bob Schieffer. In a fascinating 6,300-word analysis of Couric—including

On the Mount Olympus of direct marketing, two figures stand at the summit looking down at everyone else that followed: * Regnault de Mouçon, Bishop of Chartres, France. * Martin Conroy of Madison, Connecticut and Captiva, Florida. On the night of June 10, 1197, fire raged through Chartres, destroying many of the buildings and severely damaging the cathedral. At first, it was believed that the city’s precious relic—the Sancta Camisia, the robe that Mary wore when giving birth to Jesus—was lost in the flames. Bishop Regnault de Mouçon wanted to rebuild, but without their relic, the citizens of Chartres gave in to despair. Two

The idea that advertising agencies are recommending campaigns based on humor—and marketers are going along with it—is an act of desperation. At the end of this issue is an illustration from an upcoming Campbell’s Soup commercial that urges consumers to “Make some holiday magic.” It depicts the branch of an evergreen tree reaching through an open window and grabbing some green bean casserole. The viewer will think, “My isn’t that cute and clever,” and remember the gag, but not the Campbell Soup. Be well-mannered, but don’t be a clown. People don’t buy from bad-mannered salesmen, and research has shown that they don’t buy from

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