Former CNN correspondent Lisa Ling will give a lecture today at Campbell Hall, discussing the story of her career aspirations and the various ways journalism has impacted modern-day society.
The renowned journalist and author is also the executive producer and host of “Our America,” a documentary television series broadcasted every Tuesday on the Oprah Winfrey Network which explores the “secretive, kinky, misunderstood and marginalized” subcultures of America, according to the network’s website. The series is currently in its fourth season and follows Ling as she reveals the story behind a wide range of topics, including everything from prostitution and sexual preferences to childhood obesity and religion.
Ling is also a former co-host on ABC’s “The View” and the National Geographic Channel’s show covering life abroad, which is called “National Geographic Explorer.” The talk will begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15 for students and $25 for general admission.
Arts & Lectures Associate Director Roman Baratiak said Ling’s unique perspective and work on current social issues prompted him to contact and invite her to UCSB.
“Everybody who comes through [Arts & Lectures] is incredible and has done some amazing work. We’re interested in inviting interesting and unusual people,” Baratiak said. “She is a nationally-known figure who came to fame covering what is outside the norm.”
While Ling is generally respected in the field of contemporary American media, Baratiak said her lecture can also be appealing to the Asian American and female populations on campus.
“It is important for the program to have women presenters and Asian American presenters,” Baratiak said. “We have a large Asian American population which needs to have those role models. Women need to see professionals.”
Ling has covered a wide variety of global news topics, reporting internationally from war zones and other areas of intense political turmoil, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and China.
According to Baratiak, this extensive experience abroad is an integral part of Ling’s well-known reputation for her hard-hitting work.
“These are tough stories,” Baratiak said. “She does not do fluffy.”
But in addition to this coverage, Ling has also reported less controversial issues, acting as a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and taking on other entertainment news platforms.
“She tends to do a lot of human interest reporting … I think it is important to highlight issues like those,” Baratiak said. “She is pretty amazing for what she’s done.”
Santina Olney, a third-year political science major, said one episode of “Our America” called “State of Sex Offenders” showed Ling’s coverage of the everyday lives of sex offenders. Olney said the episode portrayed a sense of vulnerability in these criminals, revealing them to hold personal traits that would not normally be associated with sexual predators.
“After watching ‘State of Sex Offenders’ on OWN, I was opened to an entirely new perspective,” Olney said. “When I read the words ‘sex offender’ in the past, my mind automatically jumped to ‘child molesting bastard.’ I’ve since gained the viewpoint that a title doesn’t tell the story.”
According to Baratiak, Arts & Lectures does not provide a discount for seniors, faculty or community members, but always provides discounts for students. He said he encourages students to attend the event to listen to Ling’s stories and also to build connections with fellow audience members.
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of February 5th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.