For the first time, a two-time colorectal cancer survivor will direct and shape daily broadcast news coverage from the U.S. on a global scale. It was announced last week that Jeff Zucker, age 47, will become the president of CNN Worldwide, after serving as executive producer of Katie Couric’s new talk show, Katie, and after heading up NBC Universal.
Beyond Zucker’s and Couric’s latest teaming, there’s a lesser known cultural history of how Zucker and Couric, former co-host of NBC’s Today show, worked as colleagues starting in the late 1990s to bring colorectal cancer coverage out of health story shadows and into mainstream media reports.
Most TV viewers are not aware that Zucker was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 31 (then again at 34), and that he scheduled chemo sessions on Fridays to minimize work absences. The world did hear about the surprising death in 1998 of Jay Monahan, Couric’s husband and an NBC News legal analyst: he died at age 42 from colon cancer. Thus began a remarkable public campaign. Read the rest of this entry »