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Katie Couric and the American Bombing

Katie Couric and the American Bombing

Gaylord College students Emma Rowland and Hannah Lisenbee interviewing Katie Couric while she was on the OU campus for the American Bombing screening.
Gaylord College students Emma Rowland and Hannah Lisenbee interviewing Katie Couric while she was on the OU campus for the American Bombing screening.

By Hannah Lisenbee, Gaylord Extra Editor, Gaylord College Class of 2024

On March 12, 2024, Oklahomans came first. An HBO documentary that would evaluate the road to the most horrific act of home-grown terrorism premiered at Gaylord College in Norman, OK.

In the year of the 29th anniversary since the Oklahoma City bombing, “An American Bombing: The Road to April 19” made its debut, not in L.A. or New York, but in Norman. The documentary examined the themes and events of the time periods leading up to April 19, 1995.  

One of the executive producers of the documentary, Katie Couric, sat down with the Gaylord Extra to briefly discuss the documentary and the ideas behind it. “A few years ago, I realized that a lot of people were not aware or informed about the Oklahoma City bombing, and I think I reached out to HBO and told them I was interested in re-examining it,” Couric said.

“I found out that Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson were both working on a similar documentary, so we joined forces and that’s how it came up,” Couric said.   

In terms of domestic terrorism and the generations that would come after the bombing, there was a need for additional education. Alternatively in 2017, another documentary had been made about the facts and events surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing.

“That was by Barrick Goodman, I believe. I think he did a wonderful job, I know Barrick. I think it was really more on the actual event, and I think we are trying to show the evolution of white supremacy and this sort of anti-government fervor that sort of reached its zenith with Oklahoma City, so it has a footprint before and after that event,” Couric said.

From April 19, 1995, to present day, Couric has fostered a connection to stories of the families and to Oklahoma City. In 1995 she covered the bombing, making her way to Oklahoma City the day after tragedy struck.  

“We went back on the air, I remember vividly covering this story,” Couric said. “I came to Oklahoma City the next day and there was a makeshift memorial. It made me see this incredible resilience and support of the people of Oklahoma City.”

Couric saw the direct impact of journalism and storytelling throughout her experience with the coverage of the bombing.  

“I think that’s so important whether you’re covering an act of terrorism, I don’t think people really understand a tragedy until they hear the stories of people who were directly affected,” Couric said. “I think that’s what has always drawn me to journalism.”

“When there’s a mass shooting at a school, we always post about who the person was, because I think we risk turning people into statistics and they’re so much more than that,” Couric said. “I think Oklahoma City was one of those stories where we actually told the individual stories of the people and who they were and what happened to them and the impact on the people they left behind,” Couric said.  

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