CBS blames the "editorial staff" of a promotional magazine for doctoring a photo to dramatically slim Katie Couric down, but those editors are in fact the network’s PR staff.
Website TVNewser caught CBS putting Couric on a diet in its Watch magazine by altering a photo of her from the network’s upfront presentation that substantially thins her waist and face. The Website showed the magazine’s version next to the version originally taken at the network’s ad presentation in Carnegie Hall last May.
Magazine photos are altered all the time. However, this alteration comes as the network is struggling to portray longtime NBC Today Show co-host Couric as a news anchor with the gravitas to convey serious news.
A CBS spokesman says only that "the editorial staff of Watch magazine retouched the photo without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management" and would not elaborate further.
However, the alteration is completely an inside job. Much of the production and ad sales of the quarterly magazine are handled by an outside custom publisher, but the editorial content is all prepared by CBS’ own communications department. The magazine’s masthead says that Executive VP, Communications, Gil Schwartz is editor in chief and Director of Communications Jeremy Murphy is editor.
Murphy— who actually puts out the magazine—would not comment Tuesday, but in an interview in PR Week when the magazine was announced last year, Murphy said, "It really is a journalistic enterprise. We're putting together a magazine that will be useful."
Tongue in cheek, Schwartz says that "nothing in Watch magazine has done anything to diminish Katie's true stature."
Through a spokesman, Couric says that she prefers the original photo "because there's more of me to love."
*Photo credit: TVNewser.com and CBS