Proving Herself Ready for Battle

Aug 4, 2003  •  Post A Comment

CBS News’ Lara Logan, 32, started figuring out what she wanted to do for a living at an early age.
At 12, Ms. Logan, working for a veterinarian during vacation, learned she didn’t have the stomach for that job. She nearly passed out when allowed to assist in the spaying of a cat.
At 17, she got her first job in journalism. As a newspaper reporter in her hometown of Durban, South Africa, she realized she had the fire in the belly for reporting. She has been stoking that fire since she was 21, when she “fell in love with television” as a producer for Reuters Television in Africa.
In the 11 years since, she has filed dispatches on, among other international crises, genocide in Rwanda, floods in Mozambique, the war in Kosovo and the war on terrorism in Afghanistan for a who’s who of news organizations. She has proved she is tough enough to travel light and work long and hard under harsh, often dangerous conditions. She also has endured long separations from her husband of five years, American Jason Siemon, who plays pro basketball in Europe. Phone conversations with him often are limited to: “I can’t talk but I’m alive. Bye.”
Still, when she resigned as correspondent for “GMTV,” the morning news program of Britain’s ITV, to become a CBS News correspondent and contributor to “60 Minutes II” in May 2002, the media inevitably resurrected the fact that she modeled swimsuits to help pay her way through the University of Natal. That’s where, by the way, she earned a degree in commerce.
“If you’re female and you look feminine, it’s probably one of those things that will hang around forever,” she said. “Someone will bring it up. People are always looking for something. I guess you have to prove yourself over and over and over again and never stop proving yourself. Maybe it’s a bit easier for men to prove themselves, because they don’t often face that kind of questioning.”
“It irritates me, but it doesn’t make me doubt myself,” she said. “I have a very strong sense of who I am and what I am and why I am where I am now. Nothing happened easily for me. I worked very hard all my life and I’m still working hard. That’s what I’m used to. That’s what I like. That’s how I know I can do it.”
Ms. Logan proved her moxie in April by slipping back into Baghdad with a small band of international journalists five days ahead of American troops.
“She was relentless, wanting to get back into Baghdad from the day after I pulled her out [just before the United States launched its attack on the Iraqi capital],” said Marcy McGinnis, senior VP for news coverage at CBS.
Ms. McGinnis said Ms. Logan called 24 hours a day, “Begging me, `I’m telling you I can figure out how to do it.’ And she figured out how to do it. It wasn’t like, `Hey, there’s a convoy, can I go?’ She actually went through hell and high water to make sure she was getting back there and making it as safe as she could. She kept saying, `This story is not worth doing if you’re not there. I have to be there.”’
Name: Lara Jane Logan
Date of Birth: March 29, 1971
Place of Birth: Durban, South Africa
Job Title: Contributing correspondent to “60 Minutes II” and CBS News correspondent
Big Break: Her free-lance reports for CBS Radio during post-Sept. 11 action in Afghanistan caught the eyes and ears of U.S. networks.
Rep: Carole Cooper, N.S. Bienstock
Who Knew? Ms. Logan celebrates two birthdays: her real one and her “official” one (March 31), which resulted from a bit of confusion when her father registered her arrival.