Personal Award: Katie Couric for “Confronting Colon Cancer”
It’s no news that television news persons often play a role in initiating story ideas about health and medicine and even trumpet their own recovery from illnesses ranging from breast cancer to heart disease. Rarely are such stories done as painstakingly as Katie Couric’s potentially life-saving five-part series, Confronting Colon Cancer, and her month-long public awareness campaign on colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. From interviews with a man whose life was saved through the discovery of a cancerous polyp to information on other screening options to debunking myths surrounding colon cancer (“Only men get colon cancer”), the exceptionally instructive series covered colorectal cancer and its prevention thoroughly. By showing her own colonoscopy, Katie Couric effectively demystified the process for over 6.7 million viewers, removed the fear many had of getting screened, and shed light on a widespread killer that many are too embarrassed to discuss. As a result, people are asking their doctors about screening and are having colonoscopies performed. This exceptional public service journalism delivers its message in an immensely public forum with dignity, clarity and persuasiveness. The Peabody Award goes to Katie Couric for her courageous and personal series, Confronting Colon Cancer.