CBS News Bolsters Medical Coverage

Aug 7, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS News is revamping its medical and health coverage by installing a practicing physician as the new medical correspondent for “CBS Evening News” and expanding its partnership with WebMD.

Dr. Jonathan LaPook, who practices internal medicine and gastroenterology in New York, becomes the “CBS Evening News” medical correspondent effective immediately. He supplants Elizabeth Kaledin, who is in discussions with CBS News about a possible future role, according to a CBS News spokeswoman.

Dr. LaPook comes to the “Evening News” by way of NBC’s “Today” show, the former home of Katie Couric, who debuts as the solo anchor of “Evening News” Sept. 5 and who has made clear that she intends to increase medical and health coverage. In his last known appearance on “Today,” Dr. LaPook talked about “Antibiotics 101.”

“The key to satisfying Americans’ increasing thirst for medical and health news is to be the best at explaining new and often complicated information,” CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said in the announcement of the moves Monday. “Combining the resources of CBS News with those at WebMD will enable us to provide the most comprehensive coverage, whether it be breaking news or in-depth reports. Factor in Katie Couric’s well-known commitment to medical reporting, and CBS News is better equipped to cover medical and health news than it ever has been before.

“Watching his work on the ‘Today’ show and having spent time with him discussing how medical and health news can be better presented on television, there is no doubt in my mind that Dr. LaPook will be a great addition to CBS News,” Mr. McManus said.

Dr. LaPook has done extensive work in the field of medical computing, including helping to develop an electronic textbook of medicine and writing a medical practice management software package that he sold in 1999 to a company that was later acquired by Emdeon Corporation, the parent company of WebMD. He has contributed commentaries to WebMD.

WebMD will provide “CBS Evening News” and “The Early Show” and CBSNews.com users with its branded content and resources. This agreement expands an existing partnership with CBSNews.com by giving readers more daily content from WebMD, and interactive tools for diagnosis and healthy living.