Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling

Ling in 2007
Born (1973-08-30) August 30, 1973
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Residence Santa Monica, California
Nationality American
Education Del Campo High School, California
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Journalist
Years active 1991–present
Notable credit(s)
Spouse(s) Paul Song (m. 2007)
Children 2
Family Mary & Doug Ling (parents), Laura Ling (sister)

Lisa J. Ling (born August 30, 1973) is an American journalist, television presenter, and author. She is currently the host of This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. She is the former host of Our America with Lisa Ling on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, former co-host of ABC's The View (from 1999–2002), host of National Geographic Explorer, reporter on Channel One News, and special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN. She was the host of reality television show The Job. Ling is the older sister of journalist Laura Ling.

Early life and education

Ling was born in Sacramento, California.[1] Ling's father Doug is a Chinese immigrant, born in China during the 1920s; her mother Mary Mei-yan (née Wang) is a Taiwanese immigrant from Tainan, Taiwan, and formerly served as the head of the Los Angeles office of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs.[2][3][4] Her grandfather, who was from Guangzhou, Guangdong, was one of the first Chinese students allowed to study in the United States in the 1930s. He received his graduate degree from New York University and an M.B.A degree from University of Colorado. He struggled to find a job in the United States and eventually opened the first Chinese restaurant in Folsom, California.[5]

Ling's parents divorced when she was 7 years old and her younger sister Laura was only 4 years old.[1][6] Following the divorce, she and her sister were raised in Carmichael, California, a city outside of Sacramento, by their father. Ling aspired to become a journalist and idolized Connie Chung.[7]

Ling was educated at Del Campo High School, a public high school in Fair Oaks, California in 1991,[8] followed by the University of Southern California.[9] Ling chose to leave USC before graduating, entering the professional sphere at a young age as a reporter for Channel One News, and electing to "find her education by visiting different countries instead." Speaking to USC students in 2016, Ling explained, "I think traveling is the best education. If there’s one takeaway here tonight, it’s to travel … I’m convinced that you are better, smarter, more marketable as a job candidate if you travel."[10] She is fluent in Spanish.


The View

Ling started in television when she was chosen as one of the four hosts of Scratch, a nationally syndicated teen magazine show based in Sacramento. At 18, she joined Channel One News as one of their youngest reporters and anchors. Among her roles was war correspondent, including assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. She won several awards for her reporting and documentaries.[11]

She joined The View on August 2, 1999 after beating out a reported 12,000 hopefuls who had auditioned to replace Debbie Matenopoulos,[12] but left the show after three and a half years towards the end of 2002 to go back to international reporting. She was responsible for proposing segments like investing for women, and, according to Ling, her goal was to say one thing each day that would make people think, whether it made them cheer or made them throw things at their TV. She drew both fire and praise for her comments after the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which she said, "What happened to the United States was a catastrophic event and the worst terrorist attack in human history. Yet maybe before we seek revenge, we should ask the question – why should anyone want to make such an attack on the U.S.?"[13]

National Geographic and Oprah

Ling accepted an offer to host National Geographic Ultimate Explorer. In 2005, the show moved to the National Geographic Channel and returned to its original name, National Geographic Explorer. Ling has covered the drug war in Colombia, investigated the notorious MS-13 gang, and explored the culture of U.S. prisons. She also was allowed to travel into North Korea as part of a medical missionary group, where she and a film team were able to document a rare look into North Korea. The trip was documented in the 2007 National Geographic documentary "Inside North Korea".

She then became a special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show which has featured many of Ling's investigative pieces, including a report on North Korea.[14][15] Ling's title is "Oprah Show Investigative Reporter." She also has reported on bride burning in India, gang rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, child trafficking in Ghana, under cover investigation of Pennsylvanian puppy mills with Main Line Animal Rescue, the immediate aftermath of the hurricane in New Orleans, and the April 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre.

Planet in Peril and Our America

In December 2008, CNN's award winning documentary Planet in Peril featured Ling in the series' second installment, called "Battlelines". She was a correspondent that tracked excessive shark fishing in Costa Rica, elephant poaching in Chad, and gave people an inside look at the battle for the control over oil in Nigeria.

On February 16, 2011, her show Our America with Lisa Ling premiered on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.[16] It ran for five seasons.[17]

This Is Life

On April 14, 2014, CNN announced that Ling will host a new documentary series, This is Life with Lisa Ling, to join its primetime lineup.[18][19][20] The show premiered on September 28, 2014.

Personal life

On January 3, 2007, Ling announced her engagement to radiation oncologist Paul Song.[21] They married on May 26, 2007, in Los Angeles, California. The wedding party included guests such as Connie Chung, one of Lisa's personal heroes, and actresses Kelly Hu and Diane Farr.[22] On June 7, 2009, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from National University, after giving the commencement speech there.[23] In October 2012 Ling announced on Anderson Cooper's talk show that she and her husband were expecting their first child, a baby girl. She gave birth to a daughter named Jett Ling Song on March 8, 2013. She gave birth to a second child, a daughter named Ray Ling Song on June 6, 2016.[24][25][26] The family resides in Santa Monica, California.[27][28]

Her younger sister, Laura Ling, also a journalist, was managing editor of Vanguard at Current TV and currently a host and reporter on E! Network. In March 2009 Laura and her colleague Euna Lee were detained by North Korea for illegal entry into the country. They had been attempting to film refugees along the border with China.[29] In June, they were sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison for illegal entry into North Korea, and unspecified hostile acts.[30]

North Korea released Laura and Euna on August 4, 2009 after a visit from former U.S. President Bill Clinton.[31] Laura and Lisa went on to collaborate on the first book either has had published, Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home, published in May 2010.[32]

Ling identifies herself as a "die-hard feminist".[33]

She has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.[34]

Published works


  1. 1 2 Taub, Daniel (2009-08-06). "Journalists arrive in U.S. following imprisonment". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  2. Hsu, Jenny W. (2009-04-03). "Lawmaker urges ministry to help captive journalist". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2010-03-22
  3. Castaneda, Erin (2008-04-04). "Journalist (Lisa) Ling shares her own story". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2009-08-20
  4. Taub, Daniel (2009-08-06). "Journalists arrive in U.S. following imprisonment". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2009-08-07
  5. "Expo 2010: Chinese American Reporter Recounts Her Family's Journey in America". March 9, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  6. Castaneda, Erin (2008-04-04). "Journalist (Lisa) Ling shares her own story". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  7. "Expo 2010: Chinese American Reporter Recounts How She Started Her Career". YouTube. February 10, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  8. Archived November 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. "Investigative journalist Lisa Ling coming to campus on Wednesday". Daily Trojan. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  10. "Journalist Lisa Ling speaks about her work abroad". Daily Trojan. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  11. TV Guide June 26-July-2 1999. pg. 5.
  12. "Lisa Ling on The View and Network News". Archived from the original on 2007-10-17.
  13. Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. Inside North Korea (DVD). National Geographic. 2006.
  15. "OWN Sneak Peek: Our America with Lisa Ling". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  16. Nededog, Jethro (March 18, 2014). "OWN Cancels 'Our America With Lisa Ling'". The Wrap. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  17. "CNN Announces Primetime Lineup, New Shows With Mike Rowe, Lisa Ling, John Walsh". Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  18. "This Is Life with Lisa Ling Comes To CNN". CNN. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  19. Gilman, Greg (September 3, 2014). "CNN Launching Lisa Ling Documentary Series 'This Is Life'". The Wrap. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  20. "Lisa Ling Engaged to Chicago Oncologist". Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  21. Mary Margaret and Cynthia Wang. "Lisa Ling Marries Her 'Doctor McDreamy'". Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  22. "Journalist Lisa Ling Addresses San Diego Graduates". National University. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  23. "Lisa Ling Welcomes Second Daughter Ray". Time. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  24. Huffington Post (2012-10-24). "Lisa Ling Pregnant: Former 'View' Co-Host Expecting Baby Girl". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  25. Olivia Barker, USA TODAY (8 March 2013). "Lisa Ling gives birth to baby girl Jett". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  26. "Lisa Ling's new Santa Monica house". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  27. "HOME GREEN HOME: INSIDE LISA LING'S ECO-CHIC ABODE". The Chalkboard. March 4, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  28. Michael Y. Park (2009-03-23). "Lisa Ling's Sister Arrested in North Korea". People. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  29. "North Korea jails US journalists. Eric Marchel ff". BBC News. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  30. Jack Kim (August 4, 2009). "North Korea Pardons U.S. Journalists as Clinton meets Kim". Reuters. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  31. Ling, Laura and Ling, Lisa (2010). Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-06-200067-5.
  32. Ling, Lisa (September 26, 2014). "The dangerous seduction of the rich boyfriend". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  33. "Lisa Ling Reveals Surprise Diagnosis of ADD at age 40 - ABC News". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
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Media offices
Preceded by
Debbie Matenopoulos
The View co-host
(Seat #4)

Succeeded by
Elisabeth Hasselbeck
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