Soledad O'Brien Speaks in Virginia

Television correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s appearance yesterday concluded the Bristol (VA) Public Library’s 2009 speaker series.

O’Brien, who serves as anchor and special correspondent for CNN, spoke at Virginia Intermont College’s Kegley Auditorium.

Before speaking, she attended a private luncheon with about 20 Twin City area high school students as part of the library’s scholarship series.

A question-and-answer period followed her hour-long presentation.

Prior to CNN, O’Brien worked for NBC News, where she anchored the network’s Weekend Today program and covered major news stories, including the war in Iraq, the space shuttle Columbia disaster and school shootings in Colorado and Oregon.

The Discovery Series brings authors, sports celebrities, journalists and others to the region. It is funded by the Noble Mission – a private fund established by late Twin City businessman Al Noble – designed to generate interest in the library.

Local Coverage of the Event - CNN’s O’Brien details 22-year career during Bristol stop By David McGee | Staff Writer / Bristol Herald Courier

O’Brien said it was that desire to pursue more serious reporting and delve more deeply into issues that ultimately prompted her 2003 departure from the anchor desk of NBC’s Weekend Today program.
Her more recent work is a drastic change from a funny Today story about a trapeze school in New York that drew substantial public reaction.

“Trapeze school was great. It was really, really fun to do. But I don’t want on my gravestone, ‘Covered trapeze school really, really well.’ There are other things that I wanted to do,” she said. “Hard news stories were few and far between, except for breaking news.”

In recent years, she has shifted from anchor to correspondent and her “In America” projects have evolved into a separate division.

Currently taking a two-week vacation, O’Brien hopes the change means she will travel less next year, after racking up a million frequent-flyer miles during the past year producing four documentaries.

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