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Katie Couric Admits She Was 'Upset' Dan Rather Said She Was 'Dumbing Down and Tarting Up the News'

During a keynote event at SXSW on Friday, Couric shared the highlights and lowlights from her time as an anchor on 'CBS Evening News'

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty; Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Katie Couric and Dan Rather

Jamie McCarthy/Getty; Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Katie Couric and Dan Rather

Katie Couric is looking back on her experience at CBS News more than a decade after leaving the network.

During the SXSW Conference keynote panel titled “Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen” in Austin, Texas on Friday, the 67-year-old journalist reflected on becoming the first woman to solo anchor the CBS Evening News in 2006.

"It was really challenging. After my first night, the next day, a media critic said, 'Why is she wearing white after labor day?’” she recalled.

<p>Astrida Valigorsky/Getty</p> From left: Meghan Markle, Katie Couric and Brooke Shields speak onstage during the Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen panel during the 2024 SXSW Conference and Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 8, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Astrida Valigorsky/Getty

From left: Meghan Markle, Katie Couric and Brooke Shields speak onstage during the Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen panel during the 2024 SXSW Conference and Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 8, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Related: Katie Couric's Most Memorable Moments in Photos

Couric added that former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather allegedly didn’t offer his support.

“Dan Rather said I was dumbing down and tarting up the news,” she shared. “I was so upset for a while after being pummeled in the press.”

Rather had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.

Despite the challenges, Couric shared that she was proud of her contributions to the newsroom during the panel, which also featured Meghan Markle, Brooke Shields and Nancy Wang Yuen, an author, sociologist, pop culture expert and diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant at Peoplism.

“In retrospect, I am really glad I took the job,” she shared. “I think I brought my sensibility of a woman into the news stories.”

“I feel like I really contributed to what was on the show and kept sexism out of the newsroom,” she continued. “I was a bit of a watchdog to make sure women's stories were told."

<p>Michael Loccisano/Getty </p> Katie Couric attends the 2023 American Ballet Theatre Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on October 24, 2023 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty

Katie Couric attends the 2023 American Ballet Theatre Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on October 24, 2023 in New York City.

Related: Katie Couric Says She's 'So Excited' to Become a Grandma as She Smiles with Daughter Ellie at Her Baby Shower

In 2021, Couric told PEOPLE that she viewed moving from NBC to CBS as a “new challenge.”

"I kind of felt like I owed it to womankind, which is probably ridiculous in retrospect, but I thought this is a really important moment, a societal moment," she explained while promoting her memoir, Going There. "It's kind of a statement. And so I thought, will I ever have this opportunity again? And 15 years is a really long time, you know, in one job."

Roy Rochlin/Getty Katie Couric visits "Mornings With Maria" at Fox Business Network Studios on March 20, 2019 in New York City.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Katie Couric visits "Mornings With Maria" at Fox Business Network Studios on March 20, 2019 in New York City.

Related: Katie Couric Talks 'Obligation' to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer, Says Friends Call Her the 'Screen Queen'

"I've never shied away from challenges and that's why I did it," she continued. "It seemed like if I hadn't done it, I might regret it, and I like to keep moving and learning and growing."

However, the veteran journalist was more hesitant to say she would do it again.

"If I knew then what I know now, probably not," Couric shared at the time. "It was an incredible growth experience for me, and I'm glad I did it. I think I did some really good work there."

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Couric also told PEOPLE in a 2021 cover story that she was "really glad" she went to CBS and has no regrets about taking on a new chapter in her career.

"Some of my friends have asked me, 'Do you regret it?' I think I would've regretted staying at The Today Show for 20 or 25 years," she said. "I needed a new challenge. I wanted to grow."

"I wanted to flex different muscles. So I'm glad I did it. It didn't work out the way I had hoped it would," she added, noting that the gig didn't come without some struggles. "What do they say? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?"

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