Next week, on the evening of Monday, December 21, Diane Sawyer will make her debut as the new anchor of ABC’s World News, replacing Charles Gibson. On Monday morning, coinciding with the changing of the guard, ABC News will also be unveiling a new version of the World News Web site, The Observer has learned.
The move is presumably part of a broader effort to build a heftier digital presence for Ms. Sawyer as she makes the transition from morning to evening news. Among other changes, the new site will offer a recurring feature in which Ms. Sawyer debriefs members of the World News staff or ABC correspondents on the big story of the day.
In addition to taking over the # 2 rated evening news show, Ms. Sawyer will be stepping into an evening news milieu in which both of her competitors, Katie Couric and Brian Williams, are devoted, savvy Web contributors. Surpassing their well-established Web brands will require some serious work on Ms. Sawyer’s part.
To wit: Ms. Couric rarely goes anywhere without a flip camera on her person. And in recent years she’s posted more than a few memorable gems to her YouTube page, ranging from impromptu interviews with the likes of Michael Dukakis to breezy golf cart rides on the way to sorority pep talks. Here and there, she’ll snap Larry King’s suspenders for good measure. In September, she launched a recurring one-on-one web-cast interview series, which she kicked off with a sit down with Glenn Beck.
For his part, Mr. Williams is no Web slouch. He regularly posts for NBC News’ Daily Nightly blog, most recently dishing on his office holiday party (“There were no arrests…,” he wrote, “That I know of, anyway. I should quickly add: several staff members appear to be in some physical pain today.”). He also curates a music blog called BriTunes.
In the months to come, we wouldn’t be surprised to see ABC News roll out other digital features, revolving around Ms. Sawyer. But on Friday afternoon, an ABC News spokesperson shot down a rumor, which was making the rounds, that Ms. Sawyer had recently outfitted her office with a Web cam.