“by Megan Logan”
Disclaimer: The author of this piece is not related to Lara Logan in any way.
Lara Logan, an award-winning journalist, spoke at Rocky on Nov. 14 as part of the Presidential Lecture Series. Prior to attending Logan’s lecture, I had very limited knowledge of her work, only knowing that she had to publicly apologize for errors in a story about Benghazi a few years ago.
Going into the lecture, I had expectations that the Benghazi incident would be talked about or at least acknowledged. The lecture opened with a video that I can only think to describe as a “self-promo,” featuring clips from various news stories Logan covered and clips from when she was overseas.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around what message Logan was trying to get at, if I’m being 100 percent honest. It seems like the journalist wanted her audience to realize the importance of honest journalism, stating that “honest, independent journalism standards are still relevant today.” Logan told the audience that, as a journalist, a writer needs to have at least two independent first-hand sources; it relates directly back to the standards of journalism.
The day after Logan’s lecture, she spoke to Professor Erin Reser’s Communication Studies class. I hoped that with the smaller audience, she’d talk about Benghazi in more depth and the repercussions she faced.
The journalist talked about how she had acquired the intel from two contacts from Delta and how the station had received a non-disclosure agreement for Benghazi. Unfortunately, I can’t really unpack that because I couldn’t follow what she was saying.
Looking back at my notes from both sessions, there was no set rhythm to what she was talking about. For example, in between telling us where she got the intel and about the non-disclosure, the journalist talked about the fourth amendment and how the government shouldn’t be collecting information from citizens, about how what you don’t know matters as well as what you do know about, the call-out culture on social media and about how DNA evidence could be planted at crime scenes due to ancestry sites. Confusing? I thought so too.
David Crisp’s Journalism class tried to make sense of what Logan talked about. The consensus of the class was that the journalist talked in circles and never really clarified anything.
As a class, we discussed how Logan told her audiences that sources need to be specific, but when she quoted sources, she never got more specific than where the person worked.
At one point, Logan disclosed information saying, “I shouldn’t even be telling you this…” followed by information about ISIS leaders in Iraq.
Logan said, “I’m just trying to figure out what the f**** is going on,” and that’s the exact thought that ran through my head the whole time I was writing notes.