What’s in a Name? Ask Ms. Couric

Oct 2, 2006  •  Post A Comment

For the 17 years that Katie Couric was at NBC News, there never seemed any question about her last name, only her first.

She tried on “Katherine” when she debuted as co-anchor of “Today” in April 1991, but soon went back to Katie.

“I think that `Katherine’ was an effort to kind of give me more gravitas, if you will,” she said during a 2000 appearance on “Larry King Live.” “And then I realized how, truth be told, I am really not a Katherine. I’m pretty much a Katie, no matter how hard I fight it. So I went back to Katie.”

Her last name, however, always was pronounced “Curr-ic,” like Curr-y, as in Ann, one of Ms. Couric’s former “Today” colleagues. Then Ms. Couric debuted Sept. 5 as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.” Former CBS News paterfamilias Walter Cronkite recorded the introduction for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” and rolled the vowels in the first syllable toward “Coo-ric.”

The unidentified voice in promotional spots for “Evening News” also renders the anchor’s last name as “Coo-ric.”

Asked if there is any reason for the altered pronunciation, CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said: “It’s the first time I’ve even thought about it or noticed it.

“I don’t think anybody here wanted to tell Walter how to pronounce her name,” Mr. McManus said with a chuckle.

Mr. Cronkite could not be reached for comment at press time. Ms. Couric declined to comment.

Broadcast journalism organizations post lists of words and their proper pronunciations to promote uniformity by their anchors and correspondents. News writers put “pronouncers” in copy to prevent the talent from tripping over tricky or unfamiliar words.

“I think people might be listening a little too closely to it,” Mr. McManus said. “It’s nothing intentional.”

VIDEO: Compare how Cronkite says ‘Couric’ on CBS to how the anchor and others say it.