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CNN Bureau Chief meets with students

by Natalia Casas, staff writer

 

On Sept. 18, Maria Ressa, the South East Asia Bureau chief for CNN, a Princeton grad, and Fulbright scholar met with HPU students, staff, and faculty. In an event sponsored by the Press Club at HPU and arranged by College of Communication Assistant Professor Brian Cannon, Ressa spoke about her experiences as a journalist in South East Asia during the recent years of ideological turmoil in the region.

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“Reporting is about people,” said Ressa. “All you can do as a journalist is be honest and balanced. In any situation, use your personality, cause that’s what you’ve got.”

 

Ressa was the first female journalist working for an international organization. She began working with CNN in 1988 in the network’s Manila Bureau. While there, her main focus was on the Philippines and their major events. Being a Filipino-American, she understands both worlds, bringing a different perspective to her reporting. She has a grasp on both points of view.

 

She has had the opportunity to meet with and interview many of Asia’s political leaders. After Indonesia’s former President Suharto was forced to resign, Ressa got a highly exclusive interview with him. She was the only reporter from a Western organization to do so.
 
In October 2002, after the massive car bombing in Bali, the worst attack since Sept. 11, Ressa gave an exclusive report on the first—known videotapes of an Al Qaeda training camp found in Indonesia. The level of denial was so high in Indonesia that the terrorist were free to operate and the videos were never publicly acknowledged by Indonesian officials.
 
Ressa believes that Sept. 11 stripped a layer off our perception of reality and revealed that Osama Bin Laden uses America as a weapon to whip up support for radical Muslim views against western liberal values. She describes the war on terror as an ideological battle.
 
Muslims are trying to figure out how to deal with the influx of changing values. All the United States can do is help the moderate Muslims win the war. “Moderates of the Islamic world need to step up to the plate and pinpoint these radicals,” said Ressa. She added, “This is a battle for the soul of Islam.”
 
Ressa has won numerous awards including the SAIS- Novartis International Journalism Award and the Asian Television Award. Her book, Seeds of Terror, is an in-depth analysis of Al Qaeda in South East Asia and a look at America’s role in the world, will be in bookstores Dec.1.
 

 

2003, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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