Is Couric good fit for hard news?

Just like that, on the very day journalism legend Bob Schieffer came to the TCU campus to talk, he was replaced.But maybe even more alarming than the timing of the announcement of Schieffer’s successor on the “CBS Evening News” was the person selected – Katie Couric.

Few would question Couric’s substantial popularity; even those who don’t find her work interesting have to admit that she has a substantial following. But the debate here is not over whether CBS chose a journalist with appropriate notoriety, but whether they even chose a hard-news journalist at all.

Yes, recent trends have led America away from traditional news-oriented national anchors, but this may have been a step too far. Replacing legendary figures such as Schieffer, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings is obviously a tall order, but placing Couric in this role is anything but a credit to journalism.

Yes, Couric has faithfully served early-rising Americans for 15 years on the “Today” show, and yes, there were undoubtedly some harrowing moments during that long tenure that truly tested her ability to face the nation. But compared to past heavyweights like Walter Cronkite, Couric has been made popular more by a million-dollar smile than by a reputation for hard-nosed journalism..

Will the national populace really be able to take her seriously? Too many mornings have drowsy-eyed adults starting their mornings with Couric’s feature stories and oftentimes soft-news angles; will they now be able to find equal value in her as they watch a program that often focuses more on news’ harder side?

This has nothing to do with having a woman as a primetime news anchor; indeed, she should feel pride for being selected as the first female to ever host a solo major evening newscast.

But with many equally talented, hard-news-oriented women scattered across the television landscape, has this step forward for Couric resulted in a step back for journalism?

Sports editor Travis Stewart for the editorial board