5 Questions for CNN ‘This is Life’ Host Lisa Ling

By Chris Ariens 

LisaLingLisa Ling returns to TV news this weekend with the debut of the new CNN show “This is Life.” Ling, 41, got her start in TV news as a correspondent for student news network Channel One News. Since then, she’s traveled the globe for National Geographic Explorer, spent a few years sitting next to Barbara Walters on “The View,” and helped secure her sister’s freedom from a North Korean prison.

TVNewser: What kinds of stories should viewers expect to see on “This is Life?”

Lisa Ling: The series is a look into unconventional lifestyles in America. Some of the episodes include prescription pill addiction in Mormon country, the phenomenon of young women seeking out moneyed older men to help with college tuition, women seeking fortune in North Dakota’s oil fields and the recent increase of young seminarians in the Catholic Church.

TVNewser: Why is CNN a good fit for this type of program?

Lisa Ling: My show is a journalistic exploration of the different worlds that exist within our world. There is no better platform than the premier global journalism outlet.

TVNewser: How did the 2009 experience of your sister Laura’s imprisonment in North Korea change how you view foreign reporting?

Lisa Ling: I’ve always been a cautious reporter and taken security concerns very seriously, but Laura’s imprisonment certainly has made me much more appreciative of the risks that journalist take to tell stories. Although there is far more media today than there ever has been, the need for substantive, depth-filled reporting is more dire than ever.

TVNewser: What’s an under-covered story right now?

Lisa Ling: An under-covered story in the world today is that more than half of the Muslim world is under the age of 30, and a large percentage of that number is under the age of 15.  It’s a hugely vulnerable and impressionable demographic that I think needs to be engaged.

TVNewser: As a former co-host of “The View,” what do you think of the new season and new hosts?

Lisa Ling: To be honest, I haven’t seen a single episode yet—hard with a job and a baby. I love Whoopi and Rosie, however, and wish them the best.