Lara Logan inspires CU community

Chief foreign correspondent of CBS news, Lara Logan, offered advice and insight into the field of broadcast journalism and international relations to CU students, alumni and residents of Boulder.

Logan spoke at the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the UMC on Tuesday evening, at an event sponsored by the Cultural Events Board, relating story after story about her variety of experiences in journalism, from covering the war in Iraq to interviewing Michael Bublé and Aerosmith on “60 Minutes”.

Lara Logan smiles as a collection of her clips are played at the beginning of her speech presented by the Cultural Events Board on Tuesday. Logan touched on topics ranging from journalism to woman's rights. (CU Independent/Robert R. Denton)

Logan held a captive audience, made up of mostly students who were inspired by Logan’s work and excited to see her in person.

Morgan Aguilar, a 20-year-old broadcast journalism major, was interested in learning about Logan’s investigative journalism methods.

“As a broadcast major, I really admire her work,” Aguilar said. “I’ve seen a lot of her work and as a woman in the field of journalism, I think she’s very inspirational.”

Logan covered topics from the conflict in Syria to her upbringing in South Africa and how it shaped who she is as a journalist today.

“I was taught to have innate respect for all people everywhere I go,” Logan said. “I was educated in humanity, justice and first amendment rights. Those are things people fought over in South Africa and I knew I was prepared to sacrifice for those ideals.”

Logan said that growing up in South Africa heightened her awareness of the issues facing her community, and made her want to pursue journalism to make those issues prevalent.

“I wanted to know what the government and the army and the police were doing in my name as a white South African,” she said. “I wanted to know about the atrocities; I wanted to know about the injustices and I wanted to understand it. I wanted to understand what it meant, why it was happening, and how to make it stop.”

Kathryn Flexner, a 19-year-old humanities and French double major, said she is a “60 Minutes” fan and was excited about the opportunity to see Logan in person.

“She’s been through so much and I’m glad I get to be around her and listen to her story,” Flexner said.

Having covered atrocities in many third world countries, Logan said that although she had been exposed to death and suffering, she is still not immune to the emotions that come with such traumatic experiences.

“I don’t think you ever get used to seeing human suffering,” Logan said. “It’s those human touches that affect you the most. It’s more thinking about the suffering and the people that are affected and the people behind it – that’s what really moves you.”

Logan said that journalism gives her empowerment, and the fulfillment of knowing that she could be the voice of people who were silenced.

“My way was always gonna be through journalism, through bearing witness to those things, being there,” Logan said. “That’s why I’m driven to go to difficult places, because if there aren’t people willing to go to difficult places then those things happen in silence, in the dark.”

Lara Logan responding to an audience question after her speech presented by the Cultural Events Board on Tuesday. (CU Independent/Robert R. Denton)

Logan was recently attacked in Cairo, Egypt while on an assignment covering the Feb 2011 Egyptian Revolution. This was mentioned briefly among her many stories of experiences on the job.

“I thought if I screamed loud enough, someone would stop them or they would stop themselves,” Logan said. “But it was just the opposite. I came so close to death and I was given a second chance.”

Whitney Lewis, a 22-year-old broadcast journalism major, was among the 450 guests eager to hear about Logan’s experiences on assignment.

“[Logan] is so inspirational and her willingness to speak out about recent events is brave,” Lewis said. “Getting advice from successful people, especially Logan, is motivating.”

Logan said that she did not allow being a woman to inhibit her from achieving her goals in the field of journalism.

“Being a woman in this field isn’t an obstacle I couldn’t overcome,” Logan said. “You have to stand for something, and this is one thing I don’t let get in my way.”

“There still is misogyny; it is still a man’s world in the media world,” Logan said. “Sometimes that can be hard to overcome and there is stuff that I’ve been subjected to because I am a woman that male colleagues wouldn’t.”

For aspiring journalists, Logan offered lots of advice, greatly stressing the importance of standing up for personal beliefs and values.

“Do you want to be famous and be on TV, or do you want to go to places where people don’t have a voice?,” Logan said. “Know who you are and what matters to you.”

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Megan Moran at Megan.j.moran@colorado.edu.

Megan Moran

Megan is a freshman advertising major who started writing for the CU Independent this winter. She is a Colorado native who loves coffee, John Mayer and "The Hunger Games." Megan religiously watches Toddlers and Tiaras and hopes to study abroad in Switzerland in the near future.

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