Back when Hala Gorani started her career in journalism, most news agencies were quite conservative – not only in their choice of news item, but also in their choice of correspondent. All the more reason, Hala Gorani’s ascendance to the upper echelons of the journalism world, has been remarkable.
Hala is currently the anchor and correspondent for CNN International, based in London, and even though she is recognized most for anchoring the show ‘Hala Gorani tonight’, she has spent a lot of time covering key news items, from all across the globe. Most recently, she has been recognized for covering the 2014 Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lebanon, along with the 2012 Egyptian elections, and the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In terms of accolades, Gorani previously hosted the show ‘Inside the Middle East’, a monthly show featuring key issues to arise out of the Arab world. This included a watershed report on gay life in the Middle East, which earnt her a nomination for a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) award. Her multicultural background has been the impetus, for her choosing the career path she has, and for her continual quest to uncover the truth, whatever the context.
Gorani was born in 1970, in Seattle, Washington, to Syrian parents, where she lived briefly before moving to Algeria, and then Paris, where she spent her younger years, greatly influenced by the diversity of experiences, she was exposed to. Gorani also gained diverse tertiary experience, graduating with a Bachelor of Science, in economics, from George Mason University near Washington, D.C., and then graduating from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris in 1995. Gorani started her career in journalism writing for French daily La Voix du Nord, and the AFP news agency. She then went on to work for French network France 3 as well as covering stories for French cable network Paris Premiere. Hala’s transition into American media saw her work at the Bloomberg Television office in London, followed by her joining CNN, where she has established herself, as a lead reporter on key global issues.
Even though she spent her formative years in France, what arguable influenced Gorani most was her Syrian heritage, on the basis of which she learnt Arabic and has reported from every country in the Middle East. She has raised her voice on regional issues, which others have refrained from due to their sensitivity. Of late, this includes human trafficking and modern-day slavery, issues that have been exacerbated by the refugee crisis, which has reared its ugly head across Europe, and then outwards to the rest of the world. Gorani has also recently spent a large amount of time reporting on the Middle East refugee crisis, with its myriad complications, and the lacking writ of host nations, and the greater world, to bare its social and economic cost.
Perhaps her passion for such issues is influenced by her own migrant background, pushing her to bring out the humanity of the situation, which is regularly overlooked.
How has your TCK heritage affected your understanding and perspective on key global issues?
Watch Hala Gorani’s 2015 Commencement Address at George Mason University, where she highlights how her differences, were her greatest strength.
Hala Gorani highlights CNNs choice to focus on human trafficking, and the dire effects trafficking is having on societies and cultures.
This piece shows the human side to Hala Gorani, and how she copes with the pressures of reporting from some of the most tense and volatile places in the world.