Soledad O’Brien, an award-winning documentarian, journalist, author, and philanthropist, will deliver this year’s Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture on Tuesday, April 19 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Registrations are required to receive a Zoom link. The event will also be livestreamed on the UCR YouTube channel with no registration required.
Titled “An Afternoon With Soledad O’Brien: Her Life Stories,” O’Brien will share how her desire to be the best in her profession, a strong work ethic, and a never-give-up attitude has led her to excellence.
O’Brien is the CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues. She has had national impact with her books and speeches, with her presence on the nation’s op-ed pages and on social media, particularly Twitter where she has over 1 million followers.
O’Brien currently anchors and produces the Hearst Television political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” which is distributed by Sony Pictures. She also reports regularly for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and, since 2020, has hosted the weekly podcast “Very Opinionated with Soledad O’Brien.” She has anchored shows on CNN, MSNBC and NBC, and hosted projects for Fox and A&E.
O’Brien’s coverage of race issues has won her two Emmy awards; she earned a third for her presidential election coverage, and she is a two-time Peabody winner for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Other awards include the Alfred duPont, Gracie Allen, Clara Barton, Hispanic Heritage, Cronkite, and NAACP's President's Award. In 2021 she was awarded the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, and her documentary “Pandemic in Seattle” won a Silver Telly Award.
O’Brien will be interviewed by Daryle Williams, dean of UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
The Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture series was started in 1966 by the late Howard H “Tim” Hays, then editor of The Press-Enterprise newspaper. Hays was a leader in the Citizens University Committee that lobbied the state to open a University of California campus in Riverside, and then served as a founding member of the UCR Board of Trustees.
His son, Tom Hays, subsequently endowed the lectureship. Speakers have included Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, Post editor Ben Bradlee, and — for the past three years — Nikole-Hannah Jones of The New York Times, David Leonhardt of The New York Times, and Maria Hinojosa of Futuro Media.