Who Soledad O'Brien
Accomplishments Broadcast journalist; CEO of Starfish Media Group; philanthropist; will be hosting two panels at the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans Feb. 14-16
Base New York
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I hate to admit it, but I wake up and I grab my iPhone and go on Twitter. If you can cast a wide net of conversations on Twitter, you can get a really well-rounded sense of the world in the first 10 minutes that you’re up. I’m sort of obsessed with Twitter. Then I start answering my emails, which range from crazy family issues to work. And then I get out of bed.
Are there any Twitter feeds that you find especially helpful?
First, my friends, Kim Bondy and Bevy Smith, just to keep up with what’s going on in their lives. Ezra Klein is really interesting, and Ross Douthat is wonderful. Roland Martin tweets a lot of good information from his News One Now show. And Ryan Lizza is terrific.
What other social media platforms do you use?
I used to think I was pretty aggressive on Instagram, but my daughters have put me to shame. I use Instagram mainly as a way to monitor what they’re interested in and the conversations they’re having.
Now that you’re running your own production company rather than anchoring a daily news program, how has your media consumption changed?
When I anchored a morning show, I really plowed through the information I had to read. I’d start running through the congressional budget report at 2 o’clock in the morning. Now, it’s much more leisurely. Most of my research is around the class I’m co-teaching and the documentaries I’m working on.
What do you watch on TV?
I don’t watch a ton of TV—I tend to watch more things streaming on my iPad. I like Being Mary Jane, and I love Scandal, although of course it’s a pain when everyone is on Twitter talking about it and I haven’t caught up.
Tell us about your favorite app.
My son, Jackson, is about 95 percent deaf, and so I just downloaded Marlee Signs, which is an app created by Marlee Matlin that teaches you sign language. We’re now teaching Jackson to sign and learning it ourselves so we can be prepared if we need to communicate in sign language. The app is phenomenal.
What’s your must-have gadget?
I’m a holdout for the BlackBerry. I just love the keyboard. But I also have an iPhone, of course!
What’s on your reading list?
The course that I’m teaching is on education, so I’ve been reading a lot about that. There’s a really great book called Improbable Scholars by David L. Kirp that’s about a school district in Union City, N.J. I just did a quote for a book that’s coming out called Promises Kept, written by a couple following their son and his friend as they go off to Dalton in New York. And Daniel Kahneman has a great book out called Thinking, Fast and Slow.