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Emmy-winning journalist Laura Ling to give 2015 Commencement address

April 15, 2015

Six years ago at this time, Laura Ling was imprisoned in North Korea. Chosen as Carthage’s 2015 Commencement speaker, she’ll share reflections from those terrifying months and other lessons she has gleaned from her career as an award-winning broadcast journalist.

Ms. Ling has reported from dozens of countries on critical issues such as slave labor in the Amazon, Mexico’s drug war, Internet censorship in China, and women’s rights in Turkey. Her work has earned both an Emmy and a national Edward R. Murrow Award.

Today, she is director of development for Discovery Digital Networks, overseeing the creation of online video programming for Discovery’s range of websites. Previously, Ms. Ling was the host and reporter on the documentary series “E! Investigates” and vice president of Current TV’s journalism department, where she created the weekly investigative series “Vanguard.”

In March 2009, North Korean soldiers detained Ms. Ling along the country’s border with China as she reported on the trafficking of North Korean women. She and her colleague, Euna Lee, were convicted in a secret trial and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. They spent 140 days in captivity before former President Bill Clinton intervened and helped to secure pardons for them.

Since returning to the United States, Ms. Ling has sought to shine a light on both the trafficking of women and the plight of imprisoned journalists around the world. She co-wrote “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home” with her sister Lisa, host of “This Is Life with Lisa Ling” on CNN.

Carthage Student Government representatives approved the speaker. The organization’s president, Marissa Gray ’15, said she’s excited to hear Ms. Ling’s address.

“She is a brave and accomplished journalist who will provide powerful insight and inspiration for our class to leave our home at Carthage and go after our dreams,” Marisa said.

The Commencement ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, May 24, in the N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center Field House. Each participating graduate is issued five tickets, with additional overflow seating available in the Campbell Student Union auditorium.

For those who can’t attend, the event will be streamed live at

More information on Commencement weekend