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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Ling’

Laura Ling Makes Her Debut on E! Tonight

Former Current TV reporter and world famous North Korean hostage Laura Ling is the new host of E! Investigates on the E! Entertainment network, where she makes her debut tonight. Ling’s first show looks into the rash of teen suicides across the country.

Writes Ling of her premiere story, on E!’s website:

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds. And the ripple effect of losing a child, sibling or friend to suicide is far-reaching. As April Kubachka explained metaphorically about her son Kyle’s death by suicide, “Kyle held a grenade in his hands, and surrounding him were all his loved ones. When he pulled the pin, we were all hit with the shrapnel.”

Teen suicide and bullying has been in the news as of late following the death of Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, who was taunted because of his sexual orientation. But suicidal thoughts impact young people from all walks of life. Our investigation took us from wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles to ethnic communities in Miami to tranquil towns in the Midwest.

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Keeping Up with the Lings

While the daily lives of Sacramento born globe-trotting sisters Lisa Ling and Laura Ling would make for a potent reality TV show in the style of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, E! Entertainment has decided to go in a different direction in this case, hiring on Laura as exclusive new host and contributor to their hour-long program E! Investigates. New York Times media columnist Brian Stelter broke the news, which was then quickly picked up by the likes of TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter and TV Squad.

“The folks at E! approached me several months ago,” Laura told FishbowlLA exclusively this morning via e-mail after returning from the doctor’s office where she watched four-month-old daughter Li get vaccine shots. “I’d [also] had some informal conversations with other outlets.”

On the one hand, this has to be a bitter pill for Current TV, the cable TV network for whom Ling was reporting at the time of her apprehension on the China-North Korea border in the early morning hours of March 17th, 2009. The new E! show sounds a lot like the old Vanguard program, albeit with more of a domestic focus, and even the way the San Francisco based network quietly blogged in late January about Ling’s decision to leave her post there as Vice President spoke volumes.

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Jumping Into the Fishbowl

On this, Columbus Day 2010, it gives me great pleasure to be able to introduce myself as FishbowlLA’s newest blogger.

When I moved from Toronto to Los Angeles in the late fall of 1993, I did what any self-respecting Canadian would: I drove around at night with the convertible top down, marveling at the balmy low-50′s temperatures. As winter season approaches, a new wave of Canadian and Scandinavian west coast transplants will no doubt soon be cruising down Sunset Boulevard in similar fashion.

Since my arrival in L.A., I have hung out at the House of Blues Foundation Room with Jimi Hendrix Jr.; helped filmmaker Brian Herzlinger land a date with Drew Barrymore; felt the wrath of Mel Gibson after authoring an article about video piracy; and become fascinated with North Korea as a result of starting a grassroots Twitter and WordPress campaign in 2009 on behalf of detained Current TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

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Freed Times Reporter Relives Four Scary Days, Death Of A Friend

One day after his rescue from Taliban captors in Afghanistan, New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell has blogged about his kidnapping, captivity and escape on the Times‘s “At War” blog.

The detailed account of Farrell’s 4-day ordeal is unlike anything we’ve ever read, and if you can read it without tearing up — especially at the end when Farrell speaks about his translator Sultan Munadi who was killed during the rescue raid — then you are certainly made of stone.

Farrell’s story is unique because many journalists that survive captivity seem too shaken to speak about their experiences, particularly in the first days after their release. Times reporter David Rohde, who escaped from months of Taliban captivity earlier this summer, has yet to tell his story, and Laura Ling and Euna Lee, recently freed from North Korea, took a few weeks before making a statement about their arrest. They still haven’t given specific details about their captivity. At least not the way Farrell has.

Farrell speaks at length about this captors’ organization or lack thereof, their efforts to indoctrinate him into the Muslim faith and their threats against Munadi:

“There were good hours, and bad ones. Progress and setbacks. They reported to Sultan that their elders — the word ‘commandant’ was used frequently — thought that we were ‘not security people so are to be treated well.’

But then our status as journalists was called into question again, and it became an endless series of assurances and reassurances. They allowed Sultan to talk to his mother and father, which was encouraging, but on the second day Sultan picked up that they might be seeking money, and on Day 3 an exchange of prisoners. He became glum at this, especially so when two Taliban told him that while they were confident that an exchange could be arranged for me, not so for him…Another reminded him that an Italian journalist had once been exchanged, but his translator was no so fortunate. ‘He was beheaded,’ the unsmiling youngster said, to Sultan’s face. He translated it, faithfully but with a gray face.”

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Freed Journalists And Offensive Ads On The Menu


Starting September off strong, Jason Boog of GalleyCat and AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven had lots of media news to talk about this morning on the Morning Media Menu podcast, including a tasteless ad and imprisoned journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee‘s first statement since their release from North Korea last month.

Yesterday, Matt tracked a story on AgencySpy about a purported ad for World Wildlife Fund, which showed a scene that played off of the idea of September 11. The point of the ad, which depicted several planes nosediving into lower Manhattan, was to illustrate how many more people were killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami than in the World Trade Center attacks.

Once the ad became public, WWF denounced it as “offensive and tasteless” and said it never should have seen the light of day. But, now the world — or at least most of New York — has seen it, just a few days before the eighth anniversary of this horrible day in our city’s history.

And speaking of a horrible day, Matt and Jason also discussed Ling and Lee’s harrowing tale of their arrest in North Korea in March. However, Matt was quick to point out that in their statement released today, the journalists were careful to emphasize the reason that they were near North Korea at all, which was to report on sex trafficking and North Korean defectors.

“The story of these two is so compelling, but I think it’s sort of over,” Matt said. “And there is this whole other big issue that I hope doesn’t get lost.”

Also discussed: ad spending dropped more than 15 percent during the first half of the year; Laura Ling’s shopping a book with her sister, journalist and former member of “The View,” Lisa Ling; and an update on the Google book settlement.

You can listen to all the past podcasts at and call in at 646-929-0321.

First Statement From Euna And Laura Describes North Korean Arrest

eunalaura.jpgCurrent TV journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have released a statement about their arrest in North Korea in March.

Ling and Lee spent five months in captivity and were sentenced to 12 years hard labor before being set free last month. In their joint statement published today on Current TV’s Web site, they explain how they were detained by North Korean authorities on March 17 along the Tumen River, which separates China and North Korea. The journalists found themselves along the river while working on a story about North Korean defectors and human trafficking. People are regularly trafficked across the Tumen, Ling and Lee explained.

Although they were suspicious of their whereabouts, Ling and Lee followed their guide — who they trusted — onto North Korean soil. They were there for only a minute, but that didn’t stop North Korean guards with guns from chasing them into China and dragging them back onto forbidden soil.

The women provide even more details about the events that lead to their arrest:

“When we set out, we had no intention of leaving China, but when our guide beckoned for us to follow him beyond the middle of the river, we did, eventually arriving at the riverbank on the North Korean side. He pointed out a small village in the distance where he told us that North Koreans waited in safe houses to be smuggled into China via a well-established network that has escorted tens of thousands across the porous border.”

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The Patron Saint of Political Prisoner Journos Speaks to Bloggers


President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker last night at Netroots Nation. He opened by saying,”I apologize my voice is hoarse, I’ve been on a lot of planes the past couple of days.” Which made the crowd laugh and cheer. Indeed, a couple of days ago the former president negotiated the release Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two Los Angeles journos who were sentenced to 12 years hard labor in the “Axis of Evil” country of North Korea.

Clinton, who is a bit of a history wonk wooed the progressive and progressively geekier crowd. He was heckled by one blogger who stood up and yelled something about the policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. After which Clinton defended his compromise on gays serving in the military and made it seem seamless to the point he was trying to read in his speech, about (of course) health care.

But in true Clinton form, a man whose catch phrase as president was,”I feel your pain,” charmed the new media masses by announcing, “I read a lot of your blogs.”

Previously on FBLA:

  • President Clinton: Soon-To-Be Patron Saint of Political Prisoner Journos

  • Will Laura Ling and Euna Lee Get a Book Deal?

    x16656.jpgIs there going to be a book about the four month ordeal of Laura Ling and Euna Lee in North Korea? Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at seems to think maybe:

    Although publishers and literary agents in New York said they haven’t yet seen or heard of proposals for a book from either Lee or Ling, or the two as a team, there’s speculation that a book could fetch $500,000 or so-but only if they have a compelling story to tell.

    We’re wondering as part of a pardon – for SPYING if there wasn’t some non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal. We think Bill Clinton must have glamoured Kim Jong Il. If he would have just kicked them out of the country like a normal dictator – there’d be no book. Yutz.

    Current TV Founders Comment On Euna & Laura’s Release

    current.pngYesterday, after the announcement that North Korea was going to release imprisoned journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, their bosses at Current TV posted a comment about the whole mess.

    “All of us at Current are overjoyed at Laura and Euna’s safe return,” Current Media founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt said in the statement. “Our hearts go out to them — and to their families — for persevering through this horrible experience. We will have more to say in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, all our thoughts are with Laura and Euna and their families, who have shown remarkable courage and initiative for the 140 days of this ordeal.”

    According to the statement, Lee and Ling will be returning home this morning. You can visit the site to send them a message or view some of their work.

    Current TV has been quiet about its detained reporters since their arrest in March, so we’re looking forward to what the company will have to say “in the days and weeks ahead.”

    Meanwhile, today more information came out regarding Clinton’s trip to North Korea, how it came about and what he talked about with the nation’s Supreme Leader.

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    Ling and Lee Arrive at Bob Hope International

    Embedded video from CNN Video

    If the embed is acting up go here.

    Laura Ling and Euna Lee got in at 4am this morning. We dare you to watch this video and not cry. Dare you.

    Also, how’d they get a direct flight into Burbank?!…Oh yeah…that…

    Here’s a link to Ling’s statement.

    Previously on FBLA:

  • President Clinton: Soon-To-Be Patron Saint of Political Prisoner Journos