• Agenz PR

Katie Couric: More Than Just a Reporter

How one celebrity used cancer awareness through public relations

By: Usama Khan

When I think of public relation professionals in the media, the first person that comes to mind is Katie Couric. I have been following news from Katie Couric online on her social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as watching her news on the television for as long as I can remember. Not only is she an amazing journalist, but she is part of many charitable program, including the Colon Cancer Foundation of Iowa. This foundation was created to raise awareness for victims with colon cancer after Couric’s husband, Johan Paul Monahan III, died of colon cancer in 1998. Since then, Couric has been part of several charitable foundations such as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She has also been actively involved with foundations in advocating Cancer Research in order to prevent the dangers of cancer in victims. Couric’s dedication to charity and helping those in need is admirable to me, and her use of communication skills shows both expertise and compassion.

Couric speaks out about her experience with cancer in her family.

Promotion for a good cause

Couric speaks out about her experience with cancer in her family.

Couric promotes charities through the use of public relations practices such as posting about cancer awareness on her social media platforms. Creating more awareness led to the formation of Stand Up to Cancer, a new research foundation with cutting edge research into new therapies for cancer treatment. The audience knew the importance of this organization from an emotional point of view because they knew that Couric lost her husband and sister to cancer and truly believed in the cause. The use of communication tactics helped Couric to spread her message and shows that she is an expert communicator.

The Couric Effect

Couric uses her voice to spread awareness about the effects of cancer.

After losing her husband and sister to cancer, Couric has been involved with a number of cancer foundations and has spoken consistently about the risks involved with the disease. This has led to doctors using the term the “Couric effect” to describe when celebrities discuss their experience with a medical condition to help humanize it. Couric has been involved in Cancer awareness and her celebrity status has helped to pass on the message through effective communication. When talking about cancer awareness Couric said, “I had a moral obligation to share what I had learned.” Other celebrities such as Angelina Jolie have been vocal about health issues, but Couric is a shining example of how journalists can also help inform and educate the public in this way.


Couric has not only been a part of various cancer foundations, but she has also interviewed various people ranging from celebrities to politicians and has an amazing dedication to her craft as a journalist. This is the reason she has a celebrity status among many journalists and was able to raise huge donations for various different cancer foundations. Her expertise in her field allows her to use her voice to spread awareness for causes that she cares about, which is an admirable act for any professional.

Katie Couric is a hero when it comes to journalism and public relations. Her personal experience led her to learn more about cancer and collaborate with scientists so that different treatments can be available to the public to prevent cancer. Her work has undoubtedly changed the life of many, which is what good journalism does. As I progress throughout my career, I hope to exemplify the traits which make Couric so effective at raising awareness for causes she cares about.


About the Author Usama Khan is a public relations major, with a minor in sociology. He is currently an intern for men's health research in Denton county.