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Soledad O’Brien to present LBJ Distinguished Lecture

By Kristina Kenney
University News Service
September 22, 2011

Soledad O'Brein

Soledad O'Brien

CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, whose recent documentaries deal with issues such as the public education crisis, religious freedom protection and the story of Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers, will deliver a free public speech at Texas State as part of the university’s LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series in October.

In co-ordinance with this year’s Common Experience, O’Brien will present a lecture on “Freedoms: The First Amendment” from 7-8 p.m. Oct. 5 in Strahan Coliseum.

O’Brien was born and raised in St. James, N.Y., and began her career as an associate producer and news writer for WBZ-TV out of Boston. She joined NBC News in 1991 as a field producer for “NBC Nightly News” and the “Today” show. She went on to anchor MSNBC’s weekend morning show, as well as the cable channel’s award-winning technology program “The Site.” In 1999, O’Brien co-anchored “Weekend Today” with David Bloom and continued to contribute reports for the “Today” show and weekend editions of “NBC Nightly News,” covering stories such as John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash and the school shootings in Colorado and Oregon during the late 1990s. O’Brien also obtained her degree from Harvard University in 2000.

O'Brien joined CNN in 2003 to co-anchor “American Morning” with Miles O’Brien and in 2005 covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans, where she interviewed Michael Brown, then head of FEMA. Since then, she has gone on to report breaking news from around the globe and has produced numerous award-winning, record-breaking and critically acclaimed documentaries on some of the most important issues facing the world today.

In 2009, O’Brien reported for “Latino in America,” a wide-ranging look at Latinos living in this country. Prior, she reported for “Black in America 2,” a four-hour documentary focusing on successful community leaders improving the lives of African-Americans. In 2010, she released her critically-acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities, which chronicles her biggest reporting moments and how her upbringing and background have influenced these experiences.

About the LBJ Lecture

The annual Lyndon Baines Johnson Lecture, initiated in 1982 to honor the former president and Texas State graduate, recognizes the importance of education to the continuing prosperity of the nation. Through the series, Texas State works to perpetuate the former president’s high educational ideals by bringing outstanding individuals to campus to meet with students and faculty and present public lectures. Previous lecterns include former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and former President Gerald Ford.