Former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien joined us on the Media Menu podcast this morning to talk about what’s next for him, and all media, and leaving CNN in December.
As aviation stories have moved front and center in the last couple months, O’Brien has continued his reporting on the Web. “I was pretty bowled over by the response…People are thirsty for information from sources they feel they can trust,” he says. “And they will seek you out. And in the blog world you do get linked and re-linked and bounced around that echo chamber in ways that are extremely effective.”
What’s not always effective is how O’Brien views TV reporting on aviation. “Aviation is something I know very well, so when I watch the coverage in general I’m horrified about the things that are reported and the inaccuracies that get out there in the moment when there’s still a smoldering hole in the ground,” he says.
So what does he think about CNN dismantling the entire science and technology unit? “I think it’s a reflection of how our society feels about that content,” says O’Brien. “Science and technology news coverage is no longer ready for prime time, it seems. I don’t think people are as interested in that subject matter as they should be.” And now he’ll try to get them hooked again. He hosts a PBS documentary May 20 (release after the jump) looking at the infrastructure problems across America. “It’s exciting to be able to my sink my teeth into an hour on a subject matter I’m obviously into,” he says.
Also discussed: O’Brien’s take on newspapers charging for content online (he’s for it), his theory for a “freelance virtual newspaper” and how he can help Glynnis overcome her fear of flying (and, as every Friday, “What We Learned This Week” — and it’s more optimistic than usual).
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Acclaimed reporter and anchor Miles O’Brien will return to broadcasting this spring as the anchor and correspondent of a
BLUEPRINT AMERICA documentary on public television, tentatively titled: “Blueprint America: A Tale of Three Cities.” The documentary, presented by WNET.ORG, will take viewers in and around three very different cities–Portland, Denver, and New York–to look past the headlines about crumbling roads and bridges and explore what kind of infrastructure Americans need to meet the pressing challenges of the 21st Century. O’Brien will set out to learn what must be done to keep the nation competitive in the global economy, while at the same time addressing the realities of climate change, diminishing natural resources and population growth.
With his engaging, award-winning brand of insight and analysis, O’Brien will bring substantive understanding of infrastructure issues to American audiences. He’ll look at look at what kinds of innovative changes are already underway and ask whether the nation is prepared to do what it takes to re-design and re-invigorate America’s economy, industry, and communities. O’Brien will also be blogging about his reporting from the field on the Blueprint America website (www.pbs.org/blueprintamerica).
“Miles brings over 25-years of distinguished journalism experience to
Blueprint America,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG.
“Our goal with this initiative is to highlight how infrastructure impacts Americans in ways we don’t realize – – from highways to water supplies to energy grids – – and to spark a national discussion about this crucial topic. I’m pleased to have a journalist with Miles’ credentials anchoring this documentary.”
Blueprint America, created and produced by WNET.ORG and funded by the
Rockefeller Foundation, is a groundbreaking series of reports and programs that premiered in the fall of 2008. Segments have aired on NOW on PBS, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Expose on Bill Moyers Journal, and on public radio. WNET.ORG has been ahead of the curve in recognizing that infrastructure is key to building a healthy economy.