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Soledad O'Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN. She is currently the anchor of CNN's morning news program, Starting Point, which premiered in January 2012.
Since joining the network in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and has produced award-winning and record-breaking documentaries on the most important stories facing the world today. She also covers political news as part of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television.” In 2007, she left her anchor position at CNN's American Morning to focus on in-depth documentaries. However, she continued to report throughout the year on the most important ongoing and breaking news stories for all major CNN programs.
Her 2011 documentaries included Don’t Fail Me: Education in America, The Women Who Would be Queen, about the future British King and Queen’s friendship-turned-romance and royal marriage.
Other recent CNN documentaries were Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door, on religious freedom protections; Pictures Don’t Lie, the story of the secret life of Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers as a paid FBI informant; Almighty Debt, a Black in America special that explores the role of the black church in helping African Americans survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Rescued, a look at Haiti’s remarkable children before, during and after the devastating earthquake; and Gary and Tony Have a Baby, the story of two gay men and their struggle to have a baby that has a biological and legal connection to both of them. O’Brien’s 2009 project, Latino in America, was a wide-ranging look at Latinos living in this country and how they’re reshaping America while America is reshaping them.
Earlier that year, 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.
O'Brien joined CNN in July 2003 as the co-anchor of the network's flagship morning program, American Morning, and distinguished herself by reporting on location for major stories such as Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Phuket, Thailand, which have earned her numerous awards and critical acclaim.
Soledad came to CNN from NBC News where she had anchored the network's Weekend Today starting in July 1999. Prior to that, she had anchored MSNBC's award-winning technology program The Site and the MSNBC weekend morning show. O'Brien had originally joined NBC News in 1991 and was based in New York as a field producer for Nightly News and Today.
O'Brien's work has been honored several times, including a local Emmy for her work co-hosting the Discovery Channel's The Know Zone.
In 2007, O'Brien was awarded the NAACP President's Award in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence.
Also in 2007, O'Brien garnered a Gracie Allen Award for her reporting from Cyprus on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict as well as her reports from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2008, O'Brien was the first recipient of 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 Southeast Asia tsunami.
In July 2010, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) awarded Soledad O'Brien as the organization's 2010 Journalist of the Year.
She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, which named her the Journalist of the Year 2010, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students.She also serves on the board of directors of The Harlem School of the Arts.
She was named to Irish American Magazine's "Top 100 Irish Americans" on two occasions. She is also on Black Enterprise magazine's 2005 Hot List. In 2005, she was awarded "Groundbreaking Latina of the Year" award by Catalina magazine.
Soledad and her husband created the Soledad O’Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation to provide young women with a bridge between obstacles and opportunity, giving them the experiences, education and resources to overcome unexpected barriers to success. During Soledad's career as a reporter and special correspondent for CNN, she mentored hundreds of girls in journalism, believing in the importance of passing on her own knowledge and teaching others that they too can succeed.
"This foundation is a natural evolution of that", says her husband, Brad Raymond. Soledad's best friend, Kim Bondy, who is on the board of the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation, called Soledad several years ago and told her there was a girl named Alexia, in New Orleans, who needed a scholarship. "Kids in New Orleans had a lot of needs, and they just needed opportunities, and needed chances, and so we said yes," said Soledad. Soledad and Brad immediately decided they would help Alexia. This initial scholarship has grown into over 10 scholarships for young girls across the United States to complete their educational pursuits.
O'Brien has given many talks to students and a number of keynote speeches over the years, including the undergraduate commencement at Bryant University in May 2007, where she was presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree, the convocation speech at Cornell University's Commencement in May 2007, a speech at Binghamton University commencement in December 2007, and the keynote speech at the 2008 annual National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Conference in Boston, MA in March 2008.
In April 2008, she became the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award, an award created in her name by Morehouse School of Medicine. "The award was created to recognize her accomplishments and willingness to be a voice for the voiceless in our society, and her determination to cover stories that might otherwise go untold. It will be given annually to mid-career professionals who serve as catalysts for social change in their given fields." She has been named in People's 50 Most Beautiful in 2001 and in People en Español's 50 Most Beautiful in 2004.
In November 2008, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health awarded CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien the Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her efforts while reporting on the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Asian Tsunami.
She is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English American literature.
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