The National Association of Hispanic Journalists congratulates lifetime member Soledad O’Brien as she embarks on her new entrepreneurial venture.
It was confirmed last week that Soledad is leaving CNN and launching a production company, Starfish Media Group. She will continue working with CNN, where she debuted her successful “In America” series, which helped diversify the network’s coverage with thought-provoking programming that took in-depth looks at issues affecting communities of color and the LGBT community. Soledad’s production company will also be providing content for the web and other television companies.
As NAHJ president, I reached out to Soledad. She has done so much for NAHJ and its members. For example, her generosity makes it possible for NAHJ to award up to $5,000 annually to student members pursuing careers in TV broadcast journalism.
Soledad has always been a champion of diversity, behind the scenes and in front of the camera. As one of the few journalists of color in such prominent roles, Soledad leaves CNN as the morning anchor of “Starting Point,” which provided a much-needed platform for a community that too often does not get the attention it warrants.
With Soledad’s departure, there is now only one Latina anchor at CNN, Zoraida Sambolin, who co-hosts “Early Start” from 5-7 a.m. There are no other Latino anchors on CNN’s daytime programming or in its prime-time schedules. NAHJ urges CNN to take judicious positive steps in diversifying its lineup and filling this void with the hiring of Latino talent for its English-language network. Diversity must be of the utmost importance as CNN looks to successfully grow its network’s brand. NAHJ stands ready to assist with this task.
Latinos are increasingly influential in all aspects of society in the United States. As the face of the nation continues to change, so must those entrusted in producing and delivering content that profoundly affects us all.
I have high hopes for CNN. When I voiced these concerns to the company’s new senior management team, they reaffirmed their network’s commitment to the fair representation and coverage of Latinos. They thanked me for NAHJ’s leadership in ensuring that the best interests of the Latino community are always discussed.
As I have mentioned in the past few weeks, CNN and its parent company, Time Warner, are sponsors of NAHJ’s regional and national conferences. We have a partnership that nurtures the development of Latino journalists, champions diverse voices and provides platforms for candid discussions.
NAHJ looks forward to continuing to work with CNN in providing opportunities for Latino journalists.