Denver Alumni Attend Presentation by American Journalist Laura Ling

Ling’s Presentation, “My Captivity in North Korea,” Shared Reflections on Her Experience

Denver (May 16, 2014) — The safety of journalists who cover news around the world is of real concern to those who value a free press. American journalist Laura Ling – who herself was imprisoned in North Korea for reporting there – offered encouraging words: Never give up hope.

Denver Presentation by American Journalist Laura Ling
Journalist Laura Ling, front row, second from right, poses with members of the Rocky Mountain Tigers chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association before her speaking event in Denver.

Ling spoke to a capacity crowd at Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Seawell Ballroom as part of the Unique Lives and Experiences program. On hand for the event were Missouri School of Journalism graduates who are members of the Rocky Mountain Tigers chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association and their guests. Attending from the School were Dean Mills, dean, and his wife Sue, and Suzette Heiman, professor and director of planning and communications.

Ling’s presentation, “My Captivity in North Korea,” shared reflections of her career, imprisonment, release and lessons learned.

She had been reporting on a story about the trafficking of North Korean women when she was violently apprehended by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border in August 2009. Sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison, Ling endured months of captivity, which ended with a dramatic and unexpected turn of events. Former President Bill Clinton secured the release of Ling along with her colleague, Euna Lee. One contributing factor to her release might have been that Clinton was the first leader to offer condolences to North Korea’s leader Kim Jung II upon the death of his father in 1994.

Ling said she knows she is lucky to be home – and free. She frequently reflects on how a genuine expression of sympathy by Clinton might have led to her release 12 years later.

“My hope for North Koreans is that they are one day able to determine their own fate and be an empowered people,” Ling said.

RMT members and guests gathered for a reception before Ling’s talk at Pizza Republica. The RMT chapter is one of MAA’s largest out-of-state chapters by membership. The officers are:

  • President: Danny Collins, BS ’07, MA ’07, accountancy
  • Treasurer: Julie Niehaus, BS BA ’12
  • Membership Chair: Kylie Tutko, BJ ’12, BA ’12
  • Member at Large: Mica Ward, BJ ’91. Also, MAA Chair of the Schools & Colleges Committee.
  • Chair of the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence: Michael Swenson, BJ ’70

Updated: July 27, 2020

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