Renowned journalist shares her expertise with students

By Miguel Gonzalez & Amani Salahudeen
News Editor & Staff Writer

Renowned journalist Lara Logan offered insight to aspiring student journalists and experienced faculty members alike during a presentation hosted by the School of Arts and Communication in Mayo Concert Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 26.    

Logan discussed her career at CBS News and 60 Minutes. She is known for covering various stories during perilous times in many different locations such as Iraq, the Gaza Strip and Palestine.

Logan deals with an array of ethical dilemmas as an international reporter. (Miguel Gonzalez / News Editor)

After reporting on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Logan was asked to take a leave of absence from CBS News. According to Logan, one of her sources had proven to be unreliable. The source, a security contractor named Dylan Davies, gave her an eyewitness account of the attacks –– a story CBS later learned was almost entirely false.

“In the Benghazi incident, our source told us that he was employed by the state department and that was true,” Logan said. “But even when you can verify the source you have to keep in mind that they could still be lying to you. What is their motivation? How does it affect their credibility?”

According to Logan, CBS ran the story with the unreliable source despite the fact that she and her team signed a legal document to not run it during CBS Evening News.

Unreliable sources extend to all journalistic spheres, not just political reporting; Logan used the instance of rape in college campuses to highlight the difficulty of verifying a source.

Logan stressed the importance of fact-checking and maintaining accuracy during every part of the reporting process. In the world where false information and biased narratives spread rapidly through social media, Logan argued that journalists need to learn, listen and understand varying viewpoints.

By being open-minded, journalists can engage in insightful interviews, according to Logan.

“I always listened to what others had to say,” Logan said. “I work on being as objective as I can. It’s important to cover both sides of the story in order to understand it. How many of us take the time to listen to the other side of the argument?”

Despite receiving critical acclaim for her reports on CBS News, Logan has admitted to making mistakes and facing consequences, as illustrated in the aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi attacks. With this in mind, Logan emphasized that aspiring journalists should own up to their mistakes and take full responsibility.   

Logan also recognized that while some of her stories have long since left the limelight, she feels great dignity in the tremendous effort she put in to investigating and covering every event.

“I’m also proud of the stories no one else cared about that I shared anyway,” Logan said. “I give a 150 percent to every single story so I am proud of the work I did.”

Logan concluded the master class by offering advice to students looking for careers in journalism. She articulated how students should be open to do more than reporting, and work on skills such as editing and filming. With her experience in dangerous battleground situations, Logan explained how journalists face ethical concerns when reporting on any situation, and argued that ethics apply to students of all majors.   

“Know who you are and what your morals are,” Logan said. “What are you willing to do to stand up for your beliefs and morals? How much are you willing to give up? There are a lot of morals and ethical questions that need to be considered.”

Above all, Logan suggested that students should relentlessly strive to make daily progress in order to succeed after graduation.

“You get whatever you put into it,” Logan said. “It’s important to make connections in your field in order to be successful. It won’t be easy but you have to be willing to work hard for it.”

Kieran Nashad, a freshman open options major in the School of Arts and Communication, complemented Logan’s effort to share her experience with students. 

“She clearly knew a lot and had a lot of experiences so overall it was very good for aspiring young journalists,” Nashad said.

Kate Schafer, a freshman journalism and professional writing major, admired Logan’s tenacity and dedication to success.

“The professional hardships she went through, the honesty she speaks with, her balancing act of being a famous news correspondent and mother made her the perfect speaker for journalism and media students,” Kate said. “This made her presentation completely worth sitting through.”

        

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