Couric, CBS Get off on Wrong Foot with Bloggers

July 12th, 2006 10:20 PM

Katie Couric is set to become the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Before she starts her job, she is going on a "listening tour" of the country. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says that her entourage visited a city library.

The local Minneapolis CBS affiliate, WCCO, was tasked with finding a venue when Ms. Couric came to town. WCCO also served as the enforcers of the anti-blog policy.

Matt Bartel, owner of the popular MNSpeak blog also was issued an invitation by WCCO, although the station apparently didn't recognize the name Bartel (ubiquitous in Twin Cities publishing circles) or his business, until the event was about to start.

"They pulled me out of the auditorium and told me that they'd become aware of the fact that I had a blog," Bartel said. "They said, 'We don't want you to participate,' " then offered him a choice: surrender his notebook or leave the event.

"I wasn't going to give them my notebook; I had business stuff in there."

A compromise was reached - the 'CCO staffer confiscated Bartel's pen instead.

Not that there was much to take notes on anyway, Bartel said later.

"No one said anything all that remarkable. And even with the interesting things that were said, I can't imagine it would make any difference."...

Bartel never did get his pen back, "although some WCCO guy gave me one that was even better, so that was okay."

Said Bartel, "I didn't get anything out of it, which is exactly what the evening news is."