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Monday, July 13, 2020

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour will give URI lecture on-line Thursday

Topic: ‘Truthful Not Neutral in a Time of Dissent’

Christiane Amanpour Tells Us Why It's Crucial to Shine a Light on ...
She did great international reporting
Long before she was an award-winning chief international anchor at CNN, Christiane Amanpour was an eager journalism student at the University of Rhode Island interning at Rhode Island’s WJAR-TV station with its veteran investigative reporter, Jim Taricani.

Thirty-plus years later, Amanpour ’83, H ’95, will pay tribute to her former mentor on Thursday, July 16, at noon as she delivers the second installment of the Taricani Lecture Series on First Amendment Rights, hosted by the Harrington School of Communication and Media.

This summer’s free virtual series honors the memory of Taricani H ’18, a Rhode Island journalism icon for his coverage of corruption and organized crime, his heroic stance in protecting a confidential source in 2004, and his advocacy of a federal shield law to protect journalists. 

The three-part series is a prelude to the annual Taricani Lecture, which begins next spring.

As an intern in the early 1980s, Amanpour worked with Taricani on numerous investigative stories, learning the time-tested tools of tracking down leads, verifying information, and getting to the truth, said Laurie White-Taricani, Jim’s wife, who, along with the Taricani family, endowed the lecture series.

Amanpour and Taricani became friends. And when a job opened up at a new 24-hour cable news network, he told her to go for it, even though it was an entry-level position, taking in overnight satellite feeds and recording them on video.


“Christiane knew early in her life that she wanted to be an international correspondent, but Jim encouraged her to pursue the opportunity even though it was behind the scenes,” said White-Taricani. 

“He told her that it would be only a matter of time before a big story broke overseas and CNN would urgently need her multi-lingual, foreign affairs expertise. A few weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. Christiane and Jim, of course, stayed in touch throughout the decades – sharing war stories – literally and figuratively – and learning from each other’s experiences. I am so grateful for her friendship and willingness to headline session two of the Taricani Lecture Series on First Amendment Rights.”

From modest beginnings at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, Amanpour’s career in journalism has spanned more than three decades. Later based in the network’s London bureau, she rose through the reporting ranks, becoming CNN’s leading international correspondent with a brand of fearless and uncompromising reporting. 

She covered the Gulf War and the war in Bosnia, along with reporting from such conflict hot spots as Afghanistan, North Korea, the Middle East, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Egypt, and Libya. Newsweek said her reporting from the Gulf and the Balkans helped make CNN must-see TV for world leaders.

In 2009, CNN launched “Amanpour,” a global affairs program aired in the U.S. on PBS. She has conducted exclusive interviews with many of the top world leaders and decision makers, including Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. 

She has also captured every major broadcast award, including the inaugural Television Academy Award, 11 News & Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Courage in Journalism Award.

Along with her role as anchor and reporter, Amanpour is an active rights campaigner, raising awareness of key global issues and journalists’ rights. 

She is a board member of Committee to Protect Journalists, the Centre for Public Integrity and the International Women’s Media Foundation. At her alma mater, Amanpour endowed the annual Amanpour Lecture, which has brought leading journalists to campus since 2007, and serves on the Harrington School advisory board.

Amanpour’s talk, “Truthful Not Neutral in a Time of Dissent: A Conversation with Christiane Amanpour,” will be held Thursday, July 16, at noon and will be livestreamed on the URI Harrington School of Communication and Media’s social media platforms. Please, register to receive a weblink to the free lecture.

The lecture will be moderated by Sree Sreenivasan, a journalist and the inaugural Marshall R. Loeb visiting professor at the Stony Brook School of Journalism.

The Taricani Lecture Series concludes in August with a panel discussion of local journalists. The series is hosted by the Harrington School, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Journalism Department.

Gifts to the Taricani Lecture Series position the University of Rhode Island as a destination for robust discussion regarding journalism and the First Amendment by providing the resources needed to bring distinguished local, national and international journalists to lend their expertise and perspective to this critically important topic. Please, help support the Taricani Lecture Series.