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CNN's Soledad O'Brien comes to Jesse Auditorium

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  • Story by Nancy Moen
  • Published: Feb. 23, 2011
Soledad O'Brien

CNN news anchor Soledad O'Brien visits Mizzou Friday. Her talk, “Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes and In Our Lives,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium.

Reporting roots

Reporting in at Jesse Hall Auditorium Friday, Feb. 25 — CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. The news anchor and correspondent for CNN/U.S. will offer a black/brown perspective on telling some of the world’s most important stories.

O’Brien’s talk will cover “Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes and In Our Lives.” As a person of color, O’Brien has modeled the value of ethnic diversity in reporting stories as they happened. She credits her perspective to an upbringing — with five college-educated siblings — in an ethnically diverse family.

O’Brien covers breaking news as well as political and world news for CNN. She joined the network in 2003 as co-anchor of American Morning, CNN’s flagship morning show, after serving as anchor of NBC’s news show Weekend Today.

Displaying her sense of humor — and admitting she speaks only English — O’Brien says, “When you have a name like María de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien, you have a lot of explaining to do.”

Transformational news

Through her writings, O’Brien has said the ethnicity of reporters is relevant to the news. She describes herself as a mixed race, first-generation American with kinky hair, light-brown skin and lots of freckles. Her newly released memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities, tells how her background melds with her work.

“I'm black and Cuban, Australian and Irish, and like most people in America, I'm someone whose roots come from somewhere else,” O’Brien says.

In two of her recent critically acclaimed documentaries, she reported how the black church is helping African-Americans survive the recent financial meltdown, and she examined the condition of Haiti’s children before, during and after that country’s 2010 catastrophic earthquake.

O’Brien is the recipient of numerous awards for reporting and for her humanitarian influence. Her CNN news team coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami earned a Peabody Award; the National Association of Black Journalists named her Journalist of the year in 2010; and she received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Sponsors of ’Brien’s 7:30 p.m. talk in Jesse Auditorium Friday include the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government, the MSA/GPC Department of Student Activities, the Parents Leadership Council and MU Student Life. The event is part of MU’s scholarly celebration of Black History Month. Admission is free for MU students and $10 for the public.

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Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012