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Katie Couric Speaks to the Women at BlogHer 2012

We’ve once again jammed nearly 5,000 women in the Grand Ballroom for lunch, this time to hear Katie Couric’s keynote presentation.

“I have really smart friends who are really smart, engaged, and curious, and I’m not sure they’re…getting enough from the current daytime offerings.” She’s going to be talking with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about suicides in our military, and lighter topics like a show devoted to hair.

Katie Couric at BlogHer 2012

“I feel like I still have so much to learn, like raising teenage daughters and caring for an aging parent.” Overparenting is her new obsession. We’re doing too much for our kids, raising a generation that doesn’t have a sense of purpose. There are so many topics we’re all interested in, even if they aren’t happening to ourselves.

Social media is obviously here to stay, and she has tried to embrace it. She felt honored to sit in the anchor chair that Walter Kronkite once sat in, and it was an important step for all of our young women. But she felt separated from people in the audience, since it was so different than The Today Show. When she started doing the CBS News, people felt like she was automated, too detached; so she started using Twitter in order to connect with people again.

They created a website for her new show that is completely separate for people to connect, a fun, vibrant place. There will be seats for two female bloggers at every show. Women bloggers have influence and insight into their communities, providing a tremendous resource. The show will solicit questions on Twitter and Facebook in the morning before it airs each day at 2:00 pm.

Tweet  @KatieShow if you want to be in the audience of her show. The audience will be 140 people. (Sounds like it was inspired by Twitter’s 140 characters.)

[watching a preview for Katie's show on the video screen - theme song by Sheryl Crow]

Katie has been very giving with her experience with cancer, talking about her husband’s death, and going on camera with her colonoscopy. The loss of control you feel when someone you love is sick…there’s just nothing you can do. When her husband passed away, it gave her a platform to tell people that colon cancer has a 92% cure rate, when detected early. Colonoscopies went up 20% after she got on the air about it, and mortality rates have improved. She’s helped raise over $180 million for collaborative cancer research. One person dies every minute of cancer, and that is just unacceptable.

Cancer funding is very political. In this election year, it’s even more obvious.

Is there a way a personal blogger, or even a journalist, can remain unbiased in the political forum? Even TV news has become very partisan. Advocacy blogging has a place. We need to be more respectful and at least listen to people with differing perspectives, instead of digging your heels in and becoming antagonistic. Civil discourse has become a bit of an oxymoron because of how extremely polarized we’ve become.

When trying to provide both sides of a story gets in the way of getting to the truth and finding the actual facts, that’s when journalism has failed.

As a mother of teenagers, how do you balance all of the demands of your life, personally and professionally? How do you feel when other women tell you how to be a mom?

In Ann Marie Slaughter’s article, Katie thinks she raised a few good points, and the best thing was that it started a conversation again. She hates proclamations, though, that “women can’t have it all.” We need to get beyond the culture wars, the mommy wars, and let every woman determine for themselves what is best for them and best for their families. We haven’t gotten beyond how to make the workplace more family-friendly for both moms and dads in the workforce, and for people who need to take time off to care for an aging parent.

No one asks Brian Williams, “How do you do it all?” She feels very lucky that she was able to have a wonderful nanny to help her raise her daughters to be good people, something she knows most women don’t have. [Lucky to have the nanny, not the good daughters.] Her daughters are her best accomplishment. Neither of her daughters are interested in politics. One of them wants to be a teacher.

“My idea of roughing it is a Holiday Inn,” Katie jokes when talking about her daughter’s trip to Laos to help dig wells.

Big cheer from “the lazy bloggers” when she talks about her lucky physique. She loves her spin class. She’s right in the middle of menopause. She “kinda sorta” does Weight Watchers. “I think dieting is making people fat.” We’re so hard on ourselves, and the failure mindset is really destructive. Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean you have to binge after one little cookie slip.

She was asked why, at 55, she doesn’t just retire and move to the south of France? She doesn’t want to do that; she still has so much to offer. Women of a certain age need to stop feeling marginalized.

Katie has no desire to run for public office. Politics has become such a bloodsport that she doesn’t want to be involved in that.

Talking about policy is just something Katie does. Policy affects everything we do, so she won’t shy away from the serious issues on her show. She’s crossing her fingers and hoping people want that smart conversation, which is hard to find on daytime. She doesn’t want to be high and mighty or preachy about anything, though, she wants to tackle issues in an entertaining way.

Advice for bloggers? Try not to be anything but the person you are. When she started on The Today Show, she didn’t try to be another Jane Pauly. Rely on your gut to be the person you are, and not the person you think other people think you should be.

Want more? See what Katie Couric posted on her own website about her keynote!

Christina Gleason (818 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I’m a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. I am not ashamed to admit that I am in the care of a psychiatrist, who assures me that people in therapy are often better adjusted than “normal” people who are not, because at least we know what our issues are and are working on them. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead. I have started writing no fewer than five novels, and I hope to finish one of them...eventually.


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