Lara Logan to speak on front-line reporting

CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan has spent her career traveling in turbulent territory, and will now come to USF to share her experiences.

Logan will speak at 8 p.m. tonight in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom in a University Lecture Series (ULS) lecture called From Apartheid to Afghanistan: Reporting from the Front Lines. The reporter has served as a correspondent for shows such as CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes, covering dangerous stories and occasionally finding herself in near-death experiences. In 2005, she was in a Humvee that hit a mine on the Afghan-Pakistani border, and in February 2011 she was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square while covering the Egyptian revolution.

Logan began reporting by covering racial segregation during apartheid in her birthplace of Durban, South Africa, which she said in an interview with The Oracle was the perfect way to start a career spent covering dangerous stories.

From the guy without a drivers license that was getting the tapes in and out of the townships, to the cameraman I was working with, to the other journalists, they taught me everything, she said. They taught me how to stay alive in those situations. I think a lot was reflected throughout my career because in situations where people would say, Oh, how could you do that? Well, compared to what I grew up in as a journalist, that was nothing, or that was expected.

Logan became acclaimed for her coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to CBS News, she was the only American journalist present when the U.S. military invaded Baghdad, and reported in front of the statue of Saddam Hussein as it was torn down.

While covering the Afghan-Pakistani border two years later, Logan was traveling with soldiers in an open-cargo Humvee when the vehicle hit a double-tank mine in an accident that seriously wounded two.

The vehicle was blown to bits and we were tossed in the air like ragdolls, she said. The guy next to me, Roy Mitchell, had his leg blown off and another guy he broke his back. Everyone suffered minor injuries. I landed on my face and was knocked unconscious for a while, but managed to recover.

Logan said the event was significant because it came during a time when Pakistan was not viewed as actively involved in the Afghanistan war. She found herself in the country again when Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, and was able to procure an interview with President Pervez Musharraf that many other reporters were trying to get.

I was covering it for news, but at the same time I was looking for that ultimate sit-down with Musharraf, and we managed to do it, Logan said. At one point, my producer came to my room and said, OK, I need you to talk to this guy. Then he put me on the phone and I begged him not to say no over the phone, but to come and meet with me, and he did.

Logan still works as a 60 Minutes correspondent and recently covered the story of Michael Morton, a Texas man who was wrongfully incarcerated for more than 25 years. She also co-hosts the show Person to Person with Charlie Rose, profiling figures such as George Clooney and Warren Buffett.

She also tours on the lecture circuit and cost $40,900 in Activity and Services fees to bring to USF, said ULS Executive Director Carly Henry.

When choosing her stories throughout her career, Logan said she has learned to combine well-devised ideas with compelling footage on the ground.

Youre not going to a combat zone waiting for something to happen, she said. You have to have a real story. Thats easy to generate when youre on the grounds in Afghanistan. Its not so easy to generate from thousands of miles away in the comfort of another place.