Don’t shed any tears for Soledad O’Brien. The former CNN jack of all trades who covered nearly every human tragedy and big news story during her tenure there has moved on to new challenges. O’Brien will continue producing the “Black In America” series for CNN Docs through her production company which will also be working with Arab news network Al Jazeera, HBO, National Geographic and other channels.
“I run a production company now and I’m the CEO. I do pieces for HBO and I do pieces for Al Jazeera and work for National Geographic and produce documentaries for CNN and we’re talking to another bunch of partners as well,” O’Brien told The Tom Joyner Morning Show. “So I’m in the producing of the kinds of things that I like business. That’s what I do now.”
Her next “Black in America” special, set to air later this year is about the education of Black boys but it will likely include some coverage of the Trayvon Martin case. O’Brien’s incisive reporting was missed during the trial, especially now that CNN has parted ways with most of its reporters of color under a new CEO.
“We have to examine what’s going on in American justice,” O’Brien says. “It’s interesting because it was a story we all know, whether it was the Trayvon Martin case or you and I could tick off five other cases in the last five years where it seems that justice is out of reach if you’re African American.
I think it would be interesting examining where justice is applied and sometimes where it’s not.Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic has a really interesting piece about [the Trayvon Martin] trial. He sort of kicks off through history these times when justice has been differently applied. I think that would be a fascinating documentary.”
O’Brien has received some criticism for working for Al Jazeera, despite its international reputation as a news organization. As an independent producer, she’s strictly a hired gun, but says that working with the network allows her to be in award-winning company.
“I think if you have the opportunity to see Al Jazeera English and you see their coverage and some of their docs – the trial would be a great example – just see what you think. I have found that over the years, their reporting is quite solid and they don’t do a lot of drivel around stories. Their documentaries clean up at the Peabodys and all the awards that people win. They’re unbelievable. For those folks that only want to watch serious journalism, this is the place to turn.”
O’Brien will next be seen on HBO’s “Real Sports” on Tuesday, July 23 at 10 p.m