Carol Lin

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Carol Lin
Known forFirst Anchor for CNN in 9/11/2001
Spouse(s)William Robinson[1]
Mike Dowling (m. 2009)

Carol Lin is an American journalist, best known as the first television news anchor to break the news to a worldwide audience of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, reporting for CNN. Lin previously worked for ABC News, contributes reports to NPR,[2], is the founder of, and currently does strategic communication for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office.


ABC News[edit]

Before joining CNN, Lin was with ABC News where she served as a national correspondent and substitute anchor for Good Morning America and also reported for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

While with ABC News, Lin provided national reports on The Freeman Standoff in Montana, The UniBomber arrest, the North Dakota Floods, and the Jon Benet murder case, among other stories. Before joining ABC News, Lin served as a weekend news anchor for KTTV in Los Angeles where she worked in the Special Undercover Investigations Unit. She started her reporting career at the Washington, D.C., bureau of CONUS Communications where she covered the Reagan presidency.


From 1998 – December 30, 2006, Lin served as a news anchor and correspondent for CNN and was based in the network's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. During her tenure at CNN, Lin anchored several news programs, including CNN Early Edition, CNN Live at Daybreak, the weekend editions of CNN Newsroom, and the former news-magazine program CNN NewsStand. She traveled the globe to report on numerous breaking news stories for CNN, including the rebuilding of Kosovo, the shootings at Columbine High School, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, and live from New York City's Times Square as part of CNN's worldwide Millennium night coverage.

Additionally, Lin traveled to Jerusalem during the siege of Bethlehem to cover tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories,[3] and to Salt Lake City in 2002 to cover the Winter Olympics. Later that year she anchored the news coverage of the rescue of nine miners in Somerset, PA who were trapped for 77 hours.

Earlier, Lin played an integral role in CNN's Election 2000 coverage, anchoring live from the New Hampshire Primary,[4] and from the Democratic Convention from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.[5] Lin also interviewed many of the key players during the Florida vote recount, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.[6]

September 11 attacks[edit]

However, of all the news stories Lin reported on and anchored, she is best remembered as the first television anchor to break the news of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 to a worldwide audience. It was three minutes after those attacks began in New York that CNN interrupted a Ditech TV commercial at 8:49 a.m. EST with a live picture of the World Trade Center's north tower on fire and Lin reporting from CNN Center in Atlanta:

Yeah. This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. CNN Center right now is just beginning to work on this story, obviously calling our sources and trying to figure out exactly what happened, but clearly something relatively devastating happening this morning there on the south end of the island of Manhattan. That is once again, a picture of one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Less than two months after Lin reported the news of the September 11 attacks, she was once again traveling the globe to bring world news to CNN viewers, this time from Pakistan, reporting on numerous topics, including Afghan refugees in that country.[7][edit]

Lin is the founder of, a website which provides cancer patients, their families, and caregivers with answers they may not find on traditional networks.[8] The site launched on October 1, 2007, and is part of a yet to be announced larger project that will allow Lin to combine journalism with an operating system to enable cancer patients and their families to find immediate solutions to the most pressing problems in their daily lives.[9] U.S. News & World Report reported that Lin, "has moved quickly to combine politics and news to create a model to provide cancer answers while also pushing for greater spending for cures.[10]

Public service[edit]

In 2012, Lin joined the Los Angeles County Probation Department as a spokesperson. In 2015, she moved to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to direct their strategic communications unit.[11] In 2018, due to a change in administration, she took a position with the Los Angeles County chief executive office.[12]

Awards and honors[edit]

Lin's solid journalism had been praised by numerous media critics, including CBS Marketwatch's Jon Friedman, who cited how she handled the news of the death of her former ABC News colleague Peter Jennings. Friedman first noted "CNN distinguished itself by sticking to the story and giving a balanced picture of Jennings' career -- thanks in large part to Lin's composure," and went on to write that Lin "was steady, thoughtful and, most of all, reliable -- the essential quality for any journalist working under pressure."[10]

Lin has been honored with numerous awards for her work, including three Los Angeles Press Club Awards. Lin was also the first recipient of the National IMAGE Award by the Organization of Chinese Americans.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Lin was born to parents Hsi Chuan Chen and Po Chen Lin.[14]

Lin earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA. Lin was a roommate with actress Heather Locklear at UCLA, mentioned by Locklear while a guest on Larry King Live in 1999.[citation needed]

Lin's husband, William "Will" Robinson,[15] an eight-time Emmy Award winning news producer,[1][16] died of cancer in 2003. Lin and Robinson had one child. In February 2009, Lin married Mike Dowling, then UCLA Assistant Athletic Director of Operations.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b Roderick, Kevin (May 31, 2003). "William Robinson Jr., TV news producer was 54". LA Observed. LA Observed. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006. Retrieved October 17, 2006. Robinson had been the managing editor at KCBS-TV Channel 2 in the early 1990s and had also worked at KTTV/FOX-TV Channel 11. He won eight Emmy awards during a 22-year television career as a producer and reporter. His wife, Carol Lin, is an anchor and correspondent for CNN.
  2. ^ "Turning Point: Cracking My Family's Mysteries". 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  3. ^ " - Transcripts". 2002-05-09. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  4. ^ "CNN Transcript - Saturday Morning News: Poll Shows New Hampshire Primary Draws Little National Attention - January 29, 2000". 2000-01-29. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  5. ^ "CNN Transcript - Sunday Morning News: Democratic National Convention: 'Time For Kids' Reporter Talks About Politics From Younger Perspective - August 13, 2000". 2000-08-13. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  6. ^ " - Transcripts". 2001-05-09. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  7. ^ " - Transcripts". 2001-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  8. ^ Smith, Nina (October 5, 2007). "Ten Money Questions for Carol Lin". BlogHer. RD2, Inc. Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2007-10-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b [1]
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Carol Lin '84 - UCLA Alumni". 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  14. ^ "Turning Point: Cracking My Family's Mysteries". 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Lin, Carol (2006-09-13). "Carol Lin". Working Mother. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  17. ^ [2][dead link]
  18. ^ "Carol and Mike's Wedding". Flickr. Retrieved 2016-09-05.

External links[edit]