How Hurricane Katrina inspired the TV journalist to help young women go to college
About Soledad O'Brien
Soledad O’Brien is the anchor for CNN morning show “Starting Point” with Soledad O’Brien and special correspondent for CNN/U.S. Since joining the network in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and has produced award-winning, record-breaking and critically acclaimed documentaries on the most important stories facing the world today. In 2010, she wrote a critically-acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities, which chronicles her biggest reporting moments and how her upbringing and background have influenced these experiences.
O’Brien’s most recent documentaries include Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley, a profile of an accelerator program developed to diversify the technology industry by helping African-American digital entrepreneurs secure funding for their ventures; Latino in America 2: In Her Corner, the story of female flyweight fighter and U.S. Olympic hopeful Marlen Esparza; Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11, an investigation into the lives of female rescue workers who were the first to respond to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks; Don’t Fail Me: Education in America, a look at the crisis in public education where American kids are not learning the skills necessary to compete; and more.
In 2009, Soledad reported for Latino in America, a wide-ranging look at Latinos living in this country; how they’re reshaping America and how America is reshaping them. Prior, O’Brien reported for Black in America 2, a four-hour documentary focusing on successful community leaders who are improving the lives of African-Americans. O’Brien’s reporting for Black in America in 2008 revealed the state of Black America 40 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She has also reported for the CNN documentary Words That Changed a Nation, featuring a never-before-seen look at Dr. King’s private writings and notes, and investigated his assassination in Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination. Her Children of the Storm project and One Crime at a Time documentary demonstrate O’Brien’s continued commitment to covering stories out of New Orleans.
In 2011, Soledad won her first Emmy for Crisis in Haiti (Anderson Cooper 360) in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form. O'Brien was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its BP oil spill and Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the Southeast Asia tsunami. The National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien the Journalist of the Year and Edward R Murrow Awards lauded her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America
in 2010. She received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In 2008, she was the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award from the Morehouse School of Medicine for being a catalyst for social change and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her efforts while reporting on the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami. Her numerous other awards include a Gracie Allen Award in 2007 for her reporting from Cyprus on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict as well as her reports from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The NAACP honored her with its President’s Award in 2007 for her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence.
O'Brien came to CNN from NBC News where she anchored the network’s Weekend Today since July 1999. Prior, O'Brien anchored MSNBC's award-winning technology program The Site. O'Brien joined NBC News in 1991 and was based in New York as a field producer for Nightly News and TODAY. Before her time at NBC, she served three years as a local reporter and bureau chief for the NBC affiliate KRON in San Francisco. She began her career as an associate producer and news writer at the then-NBC affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston.
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