Lisa Ling

Executive Producer & Host of "Our America" & "This is Life"/ Journalist.


When did you decide you wanted to study/become a journalist?

I started working as a reporter when I was quite young, 18 years old. I was hired to report for a show that was seen in middle & high schools across the country. I was sent all over the world several times over for that show and the experiences propelled me to want to continue to tell stories and communicate what I was seeing in the world to a bigger audience.


From all of the interviews you have done through the years, which person/piece left the most indelible mark on you?

There is a man whose family I reported on years ago for the Oprah show and then OWN, that was addicted to heroin. In fact, his wife and three kids were also addicts. It was so emblematic of how dangerous heroin was that so many members of one family had gotten addicted. And now as our country is experiencing a heroin epidemic, people are finally starting to consider alternative ways of treatment and punitive actions.


What aspects of your job(s) do you like best/least?

I love learning about how, people who are different from me, live and think. The hardest part is being away from my kids.

What serves as the greatest motivation for you in your daily life?

My kids motivate Everything that I do. I want to make them proud. I want to make them think. I want to make them feel compassion for others. So I try hard to model those things for them.


Who inspires you?

The ordinary people I meet who do extraordinary things.


What makes you happiest?

I am both happiest when I am with my family as we all immersed amongst people whose lives are different from mine.


How do you bounce back from a personal defeat?

I try to live in the present as much as much as I can and recognize that feelings of defeat are temporary. There is always another day and always another chance.


When was the last time that life spoke to you?

Life speaks to me everything, it just sometimes requires a little effort to listen and process what she is saying. 

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?

I wish I had known that difficult challenges would make me stronger and wiser. As a young person, it is easy to wallow in despair and think about how hard it is to overcome obstacles. I would tell my younger self not to wallow and to move on.

What was the last book you read that you recommended to a friend?

Ghettoside by Hettoside by JIill Levoy is a great read for those who want to understand the roots of black on black crime.

What do you most value in others?

I value generosity and selflessness in others.

Name two things people don't know about you:

I am a kimchee addict, and

I don't know how to do a powerpoint.

What is your greatest fear?

Death. I wish it wasn't the case but now with kids, my objective in life is to try and take care of them as long as they need me.

Do you have a motto in life / if so, what is it?

You're a catch, act like one. This applies to everything, particularly when one is feeling down on oneself or experiencing self doubt.

Any advice for those wanting to become journalists?

Learn to write and travel. Leave your comfort zone.

Any last words?

Be a good listener. Everyone has a story.


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