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Dana Hughes reporting from Africa

July 6, 2011
by Paul Miller

Her official title may be ABC News digital reporter for Africa, but Dana Hughes (B.A. '98), who is based in Nairobi, Kenya, also is a television correspondent, radio reporter, producer, camera operator, editor, bureau chief - and sometimes all of those at once.

Dana Hughes and actor George Clooney in Sudan. Main page photo: Dana in Somalia. International career

After leaving CSU, Hughes was a professional actress for a time, but discovered that acting wasn’t her calling. Changing tracks, she graduated with honors distinction from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and attended the London School of Economics and Politics as a Hansard Scholar, where she worked in the British House of Commons and Welsh Assembly.

The international arena suited her much better, and she’s been involved in foreign reporting and investigative journalism ever since. She’s covered elections in Ghana and Zimbabwe and post-election violence in Kenya in 2007, when more than a thousand people were killed and a half-million people were displaced by violence and related crises.

From presidents to hijackings

She also was part of ABC News' U.S. election coverage in 2008, reporting from the ancestral home of President Barack Obama's father and the African response to the election. (Her own response: Reporting live from the Obama family’s home was a highlight of her life.) She contributed to the network's 2009 coverage of Somali pirates’ hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and the safe return of its crew.

Also in 2009, Hughes won an Emmy award as part of ABC News network coverage of Obama's inauguration.

Academic experiences = success

“At CSU, I was interested in a variety of subjects and had the opportunity and support to pursue them,” she says. “For example, I was a theater major, but still took high-level political science classes. Both my love of telling stories from my time on the stage and my interest in international travel and politics were cultivated at CSU.

“Some 12 years after graduation, those seeds have become full-grown trees.”  

Bleeding green and gold

Hughes says she can’t remember a time when CSU wasn’t in her life. The daughter of Blanche Hughes (M.Ed. ’84, Ph.D. ’95), vice president for Student Affairs, she grew up on campus and, as a student, participated in a wide range of activities as peer mentor for the Key Academic Retention Program and member of the President's Leadership Program. Also as a high school student, she was part of the inaugural Black Issues Forum and went on to be a peer mentor for successive years as a CSU student.

In 2004, she was given a Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade award by the College of Liberal Arts.

“The tradition continues with my three siblings, down to my 16-year-old brother now who goes to every CSU football game. My family practically bleeds green and gold – Mom makes sure of it!”