“Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes and In Our Lives” is the focus of her talk, which kicks off ETSU’s annual Civility Week observance. Her appearance is sponsored by the university’s Diversity Events Committee, with funding from the Student Government Association.
Since joining CNN in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and produced award-winning, record-breaking and critically acclaimed documentaries on important stories.
In addition to her “Black in America” and “Latino in America” series, O’Brien’s recent documentaries have examined such topics as the lives of female rescue workers who were the first to respond to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks; public education; religious freedom protections; the secret life of Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers as a paid FBI informant; the romance and marriage of William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; and the children of Haiti before, during and after the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
O’Brien won her first Emmy Award for “Crisis in Haiti” (“Anderson Cooper 360”) in the category of “Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story — Long Form.” She was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody Award for its BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. DuPont Award for its coverage of the southeast Asia tsunami.
In 2008, she was the inaugural recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award from the Morehouse School of Medicine for “being a catalyst for social change.” Among her many additional awards for journalistic excellence and humanitarian efforts are a Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, a Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the President’s Award from the NAACP.
O’Brien went to CNN after several years with NBC News, where she anchored the network’s “Weekend Today” starting in July 1999. She also anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program, “The Site.” She joined NBC in 1991 after beginning her career with NBC affiliates in Boston and San Francisco and was based in New York as a field producer for “Nightly News” and “Today.”
O’Brien chronicled her biggest reporting moments and how her upbringing and background have influenced these experiences in her 2010 memoir, “The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities.” The Harvard University graduate lives with her husband and four children in Manhattan.
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