TV correspondent, journalist
A Conversation with Lisa Ling
Ms. Ling has been working in television for 12 years. A Northern California native, at age 16 Ms. Ling auditioned for and was chosen to be one of four hosts of “Scratch,” a nationally syndicated teen magazine show out of Sacramento. By the time she was 18, Ms. Ling had moved on to become one of the youngest reporters for Channel One News, the network seen in middle and high schools across the country.
Despite working more than 40 hours a week, she also attended the University of Southern California where she managed to make the Dean’s list during her first year. While a freshman in college, in 1992, she had to tell her Russian Studies professor that she would have to miss class for a week because she had to cover the Russian Referendum elections in Moscow, needless to say, he understood. In 1994, Ms. Ling made her first trip to Afghanistan where young boys ran around with anti-tank missiles and anarchy prevailed. In 1996, she participated in a joining investigation with Time magazine into a Russian company accused by international agencies of, among other things, smuggling nuclear weapons.
She was the first American television reporter to ever interview the company owner. All told, she reported from more than two dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, Algeria,
Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan, India and Iran, and produced eight documentaries for PBS, several of which won awards.
Ms. Ling hunted down cocaine processing labs in the Colombian jungle, conducted interviews with members of a notorious guerrilla group in Colombia, was flanked by 12 bodyguards while reporting on the civil war in Algeria, covered the refugee crisis in Albania and shared tea with the Dalai Lama. In her second trip to Afghanistan, the Taliban regime had just taken over most of the country, and she got a first-hand look at the people, politics and highly oppressive way women are treated.
Before the age of 25, Ms. Ling became Channel One’s senior war correspondent. In October, 2000, Ms. Ling began work as a contributing editor for USA Weekend, researching and writing exclusive stories on a range of topics. She hosted the television special “Teen People’s 20 Teens Who Will Change The World” in February 2001.