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Howard Kurtz Breaks Katie Couric Story, AP Creeps in a Week Later

On Monday the AP wrote that CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric will leave the network when her contract expires in June. The rest of their story was about the program’s slipping ratings. A buried graph speculated that Couric’s successor may be Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes,” but that CBS would seek replacements “both inside and outside of the company.”

The story cited a “network executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Couric has not officially announced her plans.”

But wait. Didn’t we hear this a week ago?

We did. From The Daily Beast‘s Washington bureau chief, Howard Kurtz.

On March 25, Kurtz reported that Couric was “very likely to leave in June, and Scott Pelley is a top contender to replace her – but CBS is looking both within and outside the network.”

The AP also reported that Couric was “expected to launch a syndicated talk show in 2012.” Ten days earlier, Kurtz wrote: “[Couric] is now exploring daytime or syndication deals” and mentioned a 2012 launch.

It’s odd that the AP wouldn’t reference Kurtz at all, given that he wrote what amounts to the same story more than a week earlier.

Kurtz told FishbowlDC: “I wrote on Mar. 25 that CBS was searching for a successor, that Couric’s departure ‘now seems almost certain and that Scott Pelley was a leading candidate to replace her. It was hard to miss, since Drudge bannered it. So the AP story, which used slightly stronger language, wasn’t news to me.”

Paul Colford at the AP said the reason their story seems to be getting attention is “because it attributed Katie Couric’s exit from the anchor chair to a…’network executive,’” citing HuffPost, which included that attribution in their headline.

Note to Readers: We’ve removed the word “more” from the above post to reflect that AP‘s Colford does not believe that the AP‘s story got “more” attention than Kurtz’s piece. On the larger, more important matter of why AP never cited Kurtz’s story? AP won’t talk about it. — BR

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