CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 1, 2014 – Soledad O’Brien, an award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, producer and television personality, will present the keynote address at Southeast Missouri State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner Jan. 21 in the Show Me Center.
The theme of this year’s dinner is “Words That Changed a Nation.”
Dinner tickets are $20 each or $160 for a table and are on sale now at Southeast Bookstore. Tickets also may be purchased online at www.semo.edu/mlk. One hundred free dinner tickets are available to students at Southeast Bookstore. Additional student tickets are $5 each. Doors will open Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. with the dinner scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more information, call (573) 651-2626.
At the forefront of many of the biggest breaking news stories of the past two decades, O’Brien is one of the most sought-after journalists of today. In June 2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group (SMG), a multi-platform media production and distribution company dedicated to producing stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories.
O’Brien was the originator of the highly successful CNN documentary “Black in America” and “Latino in America” which Starfish Media Group is continuing to produce. Through SMG, O’Brien contributes programming to CNN and segments for Al Jazeera America. O’Brien took over the reins in 2014 as executive producer and moderator for The National Geographic Bee.”
O’Brien recently entered into a partnership with HBO and joined the “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” team, giving her the opportunity to delve into the compelling storytelling she is known for, through the vast prism of sports. The HBO deal also allows O’Brien the opportunity to pursue scripted projects and long-form programming concepts with Starfish Media Group.
Earlier in her career, O’Brien co-anchored for “Weekend Today” and contributed to the “Today Show” and “Nightly News.” In 2003, O’Brien transitioned to CNN where she was the face of CNN’s morning news shows, and in 2011 she won an Emmy for “Crisis in Haiti Report” on Haitian orphanages, following the massive earthquake. In 2013, she won two Emmy awards for reporting on “Kids and Race” and for the network’s reporting of the 2012 presidential election. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina earned her and CNN a George Foster Peabody award. She received another Peabody Award for her coverage of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. Her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I. duPont award. In 2013, “Latino in America 2,” the story of a Latina boxer who dreams of Olympic glory, won the celebrated Cine Award for documentaries. Her documentary “Gay in America: Gary and Tony Have a Baby” and “Unwelcome, the Muslims Next Door,” also won numerous awards. O’Brien was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and one of Newsweek magazines “10 People who Make America Great.”
In 2013, O’Brien joined Harvard University as a Distinguished Fellow and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the National Archives.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, O’Brien and her husband, Brad, created The Starfish Foundation to help disadvantaged young women get to and through college. This year they will award scholarships to 25 deserving young women.
O’Brien lives in Manhattan with her husband and four children.