Katie Couric will talk politics on webcast

Half-hour shows will offer analysis during conventions

NEW YORK -- Katie Couric will anchor a live, daily webcast for CBS News during both the Democratic and Republican national conventions that will begin after the network's primetime coverage goes off the air.

Couric will be joined on the webcast by other CBS News journalists as well as outside bloggers for the webcast that will be distributed live on CBSNews.com and CNET.com as well as other places including YouTube and Google. It will be produced by Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the "CBS Evening News."

"I'm looking forward to expanding the ways we interact with our audience," Couric said. "Hopefully, our convention webcasts will offer CBSNews.com and CNET.com users valuable information in a fun and easily accessible way."

Kaplan said the webcast will last at least 30 minutes, depending on the news of the day, and begin soon after 11 p.m. ET, when the network goes off the air on the East Coast with its nightly convention coverage.

"It'll be a little more down to earth," Kaplan said of the webcast, compared to the traditional evening newscast. "It's on the Web so it won't be quite so official."

The webcast will begin with the start of the Democratic National Convention, set for Aug. 25-28 in Denver. It'll resume again the next Monday, Sept. 1-4, in St. Paul, Minn., with the Republican National Convention.

The broadcast networks are setting aside only an hour a night for convention coverage. But this extra coverage, anchored by Couric, will give CBS News analysts and outside bloggers a chance to go into further detail that won't be available during that hour.

"It'll be a great chance for analysis. It'll be a chance to do edgy things online, and there will be a lot of attention to the interesting things going on at the convention," Kaplan said. People watching online will be encouraged to e-mail questions to CBS News, which will factor into the show as well as questions to people on the floor of the convention.

Couric's newscast is in third place in the evening news race, but it has found new wings and success online on sites like YouTube. Kaplan, too, has extensive experience merging the world of online and traditional news. While at MSNBC, he created a show called "Connected Coast to Coast" with Ron Reagan Jr. and Monica Crowley that merged the worlds of traditional cable news and the Web.

The CBS News webcast will start with a half-hour but could be expanded, depending on the events of the night.

"It all depends on what's going on," Kaplan said. "That's the good thing about the Web. It doesn't have the time constraints at the network."