Soledad joined Al Jazeera America in 2013 as part of a deal with her then new production company, Starfish Media Group. She contributed short-form segments as Special Correspondent to Al Jazeera America’s primetime current affairs magazine program “America Tonight,” and Starfish will produce hour-long documentary specials.
O’Brien is still best known for her anchor and special correspondent duties for CNN. She joined CNN in 2003 and was the co-anchor of CNN’s flagship morning program, “American Morning,” and then the anchor of “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”
O’Brien distinguished herself at CNN by reporting from the scene of such stories as the London terrorism attacks in 2005, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In December 2004, O’Brien was among a handful of CNN anchors sent to Thailand to cover the disaster and aftermath of the tsunami. O’Brien also produced and hosted the widely acclaimed “In America” documentary series, including “Black in America” and “Latino in America.”
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 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.
In 2010, the National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien its Journalist of the Year, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards recognized her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America. She received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
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.
In 2008, O’Brien was the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award from the Morehouse School of Medicine. That year she also received the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her reporting on Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami. The NAACP honored her with its President’s Award in 2007 for her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence.
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.
Soledad went 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.
She began her career as an associate producer and news writer at the then-NBC affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston and served three years as a local reporter and bureau chief for NBC affiliate KRON in San Francisco.