Around the world and behind the headlines with Sara Sidner
Sara’s frontline experience knows no bounds. Having reported live from the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in the midst of rebel fighters during the fall of Tripoli, throughout war-town Afghanistan and even stateside at epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in Seattle and the heart of protests in Ferguson and Minneapolis, Sara has been front and center at some of the most intense and important news stories of our time. In this talk, Sara offers a behind-the-scenes look not only at foreign affairs, reporting from over 20 countries around the world, but also the domestic movements that shape our national dialogue. With candid and compelling insight, Sara shares her personal experiences as a journalist, a woman, and oftentimes a citizen searching to expose injustices and uncover truth in the most extreme environments.
Fearlessness is a false notion
People equate fearlessness with bravery. It is not true. Bravery is when fear grips you and you are able to push through it and conquer whatever task is at hand despite the fear. Fear is there for a reason to protect us from predators and danger. But it can also be crippling. Trying to conquer irrational fear has been a lifelong battle in my life.
Your quirks are your superpowers
We often lament the things that make us different. We don’t fit it. We are not ‘normal’. We try to conform. I submit to you that what makes each of us different is our superpower. We need to learn how to use it and stop wasting time comparing ourselves to others.
Conflict and its resolution begin inside of you
We are constantly dealing with our own inner conflicts and those manifest in the outer world as well. The racial and ethnic divide is one of the most ingrained conflicts in American society. It has been part of the America fabric since the founding of our nation. But the solution actual begins inside each and every person. Our personal biases and learned prejudices can create mayhem. Recognizing them is key to begin eradicating racism in all its forms.
Sara Sidner is CNN's multiple award-winning national and international correspondent, now based in the network's Los Angeles bureau.
Sidner moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after being posted in Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and New Delhi, India.
In 2020 Sidner helped lead the network’s coverage in Minneapolis, Minnesota after the police killing of George Floyd. Sidner was front and center in the midst of tear gas, rubber bullets, and fires during protests against police brutality that erupted for weeks in Minneapolis and then spread across the country and the world. She was the first and only reporter to be a conduit between the Chief of Police and the Floyd Family who had not yet spoken since Floyd’s death. It all unfolded on live television.
Months prior Sidner lead the Network’s coverage in Seattle, Washington covering the first known major deadly coronavirus outbreak in the United States. There she managed to get an exclusive interview with some of the nurses and staff members of the Kirkland, Washington nursing home where the first known major deadly outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in the US. She also reported from two of the hospitals that were besieged by COVID-19 patients entering their COVID-19 units as doctors and nurses scrambled to save their lives.
In 2016 she took on a beat which focused on social, racial, and political conflict across the United States. During her work she was involved in extended coverage in the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally that ended with the murder of anti-racism protestor Heather Heyer. She covered the trial of the Neo-Nazi who killed Heyer. She has also interviewed numerous victims of racism as well as members of the KKK, white nationalist, and Neo-Nazi at the center of a new resurgence of overt and violent racism in America.
In 2014 Sidner led the network's coverage in Ferguson, Missouri where protests continued for more than 100 days after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer. She was there for weeks while a grand jury looked at evidence and ultimately decided not to indict the officer. Their decision sparked two nights of rioting in Ferguson after weeks of peaceful protests. But it also lead to nationwide protests and a national conversation about race and policing in America, as well as a state commission and Presidential task force on policing.
Sidner worked for CNN as an international correspondent beginning in 2008. She was based in India then Jerusalem and later Abu Dhabi. She has reported from a multitude of countries, including India, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia, Chile, and Haiti.
In 2011 in the Middle East, Sidner was part of the team that won a Peabody award for CNN's coverage of the Arab Spring. Her work in Libya reporting in the midst of rebel fighters during the fall of Tripoli has been recognized all over the world. In 2011 Sidner shared the Achievement of the Year Award from SKY WFTV Women in Film & Television in the United Kingdom for her war coverage in Libya during the Arab Spring.
While in India, Sidner headed the coverage of South Asia from the New Delhi bureau. One of her first major international stories unfolded when terrorists attacked several places in Mumbai, including the famed Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, on November 26, 2008. Sidner was live throughout the 2008 siege that lasted 60 hours and took more than 170 lives. Her stories from South Asia also included a documentary on the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, several stints reporting in war-torn Afghanistan, and live coverage of violent political eruptions in Thailand and Bangladesh. She also explored many stories about the social and economic developments in India, culminating in a series of stories for CNN International's award winning "Freedom Project." Sidner also traveled to Chile and Haiti to cover the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in those countries.
Sidner has collected two Asian Television Awards -- one for her 2011 report on the horrors faced by young Bangladeshis forced into begging and a second for the 2012 Freedom Project documentary 'Operation Hope', which chronicled the extraordinary journey, from suffering to recovery, of one of these children, a seven-year-old boy who was castrated and left for dead when he refused to beg.
In 2013, Sidner received two Alliance for Women in Media Gracie Awards; one for her coverage of India's unwanted girls where she explored the issue of female infanticide in India and a second for her breaking news coverage of the 2012 Gaza-Israel conflict from Gaza & Israel. In 2014, Sidner also reported from Malaysia on missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, from Ukraine on the downed Malaysia Airlines flight 17, and from the Israeli border during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza.
Prior to joining CNN, Sidner was an anchor and reporter at local television news stations in San Francisco, Dallas, Florida, and Missouri. She received multiple awards during this time, including a regional Emmy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and several Telly Awards. In 2021, she won a Gracie Award from the Women in Media Foundation for her News Feature Series on CNN about race and unrest in America.
Sidner played Volleyball for the University of Florida and received her telecommunications degree from the University of Florida. UF’s College of Journalism and Communication named her Alumni of Distinction in 2011.
Follow Sara on Twitter @sarasidnerCNN. Instagram: sarasidnerTV