Finding answers to the hard questions

by Lesley on June 11, 2009 · 4 comments

in make-you-think,news,politics

South Korea North Korea Journalists Held

When news first broke about the disappearance of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, I knew immediately this would be no easy tail of catch and release. I heard about their capture during the workday, while on Twitter (of course). People from Sacramento were buzzing about the news since Laura had grown up in the Capitol City.

I paid attention for another reason. I have  a mini-career crush on Laura’s sister, Lisa Ling.

Lisa’s investigative story several years ago on North Korea is what first opened my eyes to the awful regime of Kim Jong II. Since then I’ve watched her travel the globe for National Geographic and Oprah as she’s covered the tough stories: bride burning in India, female suicide bombers, gang rape in the Congo, child trafficking in Ghana, and homelessness in Sacramento. In many ways, Lisa is the type of journalist I’d want to be. The type of journalist that believes our world won’t change without uncovering the stories no one else can cover. The type of journalist who asks hard questions. Turns out, her sister Laura follows in her footsteps.

I believe deeply in investigative journalism. But as we’ve watched Web 2.0 emerge, papers across the country have shut down, or had to lay off experienced investigative journalists. While I believe that these journalists will eventually find a place in our new digital world, I worry that us bloggers and citizen journalists are not yet armed with the unique, trained skills that women like Lisa and Laura hold.

And yet, I couldn’t help but feel a small amount of judgement towards these women. Just recently, Christiane Amanpour, a correspondent for CNN, visited North Korea. From what I can remember from the segment, she had waited years to be granted entrance into the country. As one of the most well known global journalists, I can’t help but wonder what she thinks about Laura and Euna’s trip to the border. Should they have waited to be granted access? Should they have been more careful? It’s not my job to decide–especially since I don’t know all of the facts.

Ultimately, not knowing all the facts is the hardest part about this story. In an age where we often have too much access to celebrity gossip, torture pictures, and classified information- I have to question why Current TV hasn’t spoken out? Why did the LA Times run a story yesterday that mentioned the women were Christians and attended Reality Church LA, but later edited the story? Why have we not heard from the camera man who was with the women when they were captured?

I don’t believe anyone owes me answers. But I can’t help but observe my own deep desire for them.

For more inside information about Ling and Lee’s disappearance, visit

Photo credit to the AP /Huffington Post

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