Spotlight: Sara Ganim
Sara Ganim is a CNN correspondent based in New York, covering a wide-range of stories and investigations on television and for CNN.com. Her recent reporting includes the various NCAA reform efforts, including Northwestern University football players' petition to unionize and the whistle-blower whose research on athletes' literacy caused a firestorm of controversy at the University of North Carolina.
In 2012, she joined CNN from The Patriot News in Harrisburg, Pa, where she broke the story of the grand jury investigation into Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the storied Penn State University football program. Her reporting of Sandusky's child sex abuse scandal that enveloped the school, head coach Joe Paterno and Sandusky's Second Mile Charity garnered a Pulitzer Prize in 2012.
While a print journalist, she garnered recognition for a body of work that impacted the local communities she covered and for explanation journalism, including a Pennsylvania Bar Association Award, and several Pennsylvania state awards for multimedia reporting and storytelling.
In 2012, she was recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors association for her work with student journalists. Ganim has taught college-level journalism and spends several days each year speaking to college and high school journalists about this career and the transition from print to broadcast journalism.
Ganim holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State University. In 2011, she was honored with the George Polk Award in journalism and the Sidney Award for socially conscious journalism.
Briefly, please tell us about yourself and the work/projects that you are currently engaged in.
I'm a correspondent for CNN Investigations, so I can't tell you. Just kidding. Recently I've been focused on a slew of NCAA reform issues. That includes academic fraud, concussions and athletes who are fighting for the right to get paid. Occasionally, I jump into other stories as well, which is the neat thing about being a reporter. One day I'm covering 40 inches of snow in Boston, the next day could be an investigation into corruption (which I've been looking into on the U.S. Virgin Islands) and then the next day I might be covering higher education issues. My work is about 90 percent of my life, but I have really enjoyed moving to and exploring New York this past year. Is it OK to call yourself a New Yorker after just one year? I also learned to snowboard and can't wait to get back on the slopes (following knee surgery this Spring) because, as a former Floridian, I'm in love with anything that makes winter a little more bearable and fun. I'm an avid Audible listener -- on the subway, airplane, trains, cabs, walking to work, at the gym -- I love non-fiction, mostly autobiographies, although I have been listening to a book about the formula of stand-up comedy which has me hooked.
What are your future aspirations?
So, I make a point not to dwell on this too much. I'm not good at predicting what will happen in the next five minutes, let alone the next five months or years. My only aspiration is to always be doing work that I love, wherever that may lead.
What role does your Lebanese heritage play in your life?
Well, when I want to get on someone's good side, I whip out the food processor and make some hummus. (People have no idea how bad the grocery stuff is comparatively. Yuck.) In all seriousness, my dad has a phenomenal work ethic, which came from his father, and from his grandfather who were creating a new life in America after coming here from Lebanon. My dad instilled that in me, and it's a value I treasure. I also have a great deal of pride in meeting and knowing fellow Lebanese-Americans who are making their mark on history.
What is your normal daily routine?
I don't have any normal days. My schedule is unpredictable because the news is unpredictable. I try to plan as much as I can, but I always have a go-bag packed, and I end up using it a lot. I typically can count on being on the road during the week. It's really hard to grocery shop or plan dinners!
And just for fun- what is the most played song on your iTunes?
Billy Joel, My Life.