More Messages: Morning Mourning

As threatened/feared, the Goodbye Katie Couric edition of the Today show turned out to be extremely Columbine-centric.

During the program's first half hour, Couric's 2000 interview with Craig Scott, brother of slain Columbine student Rachel Scott, and Michael Shoels, father of murdered teen Isaiah Shoels, served as the figurative centerpiece of a nostalgic montage spotlighting her work on the show during the past fifteen years. Then, in half hour number two, a new, videotaped interview with Scott anchored a segment tagged "Ordinary People With Extraordinary Courage." Scott also chatted with Couric live outside NBC's Rockefeller Center studio, where throngs of people awaited more festive festivities, including live music courtesy of Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood.

These sequences demonstrated again that network morning shows tend to concentrate on extreme emotions. Columbine fits into the wallowing-in-grief category, while the story of eight-year-old Colorado lad Evan Thompson, who was lost in the woods for four days before being found safe, offered the sort of undiluted joy that's equally prized by producers. Hence, young Evan's participation in an interview with CBS's The Early Show less than twenty-four hours after rescuers spotted him sitting on a rock in the middle of nowhere.

The Thompson saga would have gotten more play on Today, too, if Couric's swan song hadn't eaten up the majority of its airtime. Sorry, Evan: You missed the chance to be one of Katie's memorable moments. Better luck next time.-- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts