Lisa Ling is the host of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ULTIMATE EXPLORER,  the flagship television series of National Geographic that airs weekly on MSNBC. Until recently she starred as a co-host of ABC Daytime’s popular morning talk and entertainment program, The View. At age 16, the Northern California native auditioned for and was chosen to be one of four hosts of “Scratch,” a nationally syndicated teen magazine show. By the time she was 18, Ling had moved on to become one of the youngest reporters for Channel One News. Despite working more than 40 hours a week, she also attended the University of Southern California.

Lisa Ling is scheduled to present two of her documentaries, CHINA’S LOST GIRLS and BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY: FROM MAO TO YAO, at SDAFF on Saturday, October 23.

Last month, I attended the Unity Minority Journalists Convention in Washington D.C. with SDAFF founder and fellow journalist Lee Ann Kim.  While there, we caught up with Lisa Ling at the National Geographic booth—later that night, Ms. Ling was to introduce Connie Chung, the keynote speaker at the Asian American Journalists Association Gala.


[vc_text_separator title=”Q&A” border=”no”]


VINCENT HSIA: What makes National Geographic different from other media companies?

LISA LING: The great thing about National Geographic is that it is the only organization that covers these global stories in a comprehensive way.  Networks only go to these countries when there is war.  We go to these countries, and we spend time on stories that are not the networks.

HSIA: The piece you did with Yao Ming, you must’ve had hours upon hours of tape. Can you name one part with Yao Ming that didn’t air?

LING: Hahaha, he’s so lovely.  I took him to a karaoke bar.  It was the first time he went out since having been to the United States.  He’s seven feet six.  He stands out and can’t just go out without being noticed.  So we didn’t put that part about the Karaoke obviously.  It didn’t air, taking him out to have a good time — It was a lot of fun.

HSIA: Your documentary CHINA’S LOST GIRLS was so popular, there was a DVD released for it, right?

LING: Yes, we had a lot of people’s support.  A lot of people adopt from China.  There was a lot of interest.  We sold 2500 copies of the program in 2 days.  Especially, we had the support of Families with Children from China.  (To purchase the DVD, click here).

HSIA: What comments do you have on the adoption process now?

LING: It’s about bringing cultures together. We followed two families to go get their babies.  It really is one of the most extraordinary stories.  They are saving kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a family.

HSIA: And how are the children doing?

LING: They’re like my kids now!  We’re going to Disney World in September!