Soledad O’Brien Book Party at Russell Simmons Pad

By Chris Ariens 

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TVNewser stopped by the book party for CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien Friday night at Russell Simmons’ lower Manhattan apartment .

In The Next Big Story, co-authored by CNN producer Rose Arce, O’Brien takes a page from her award-winning …In America series, and other reporting experiences, and blends her personal story and mixed-race background (Cuban, Irish, Scottish, Long Island-ish) crafting an inspiring story of hope amidst the tragedies that are a staple of the TV news stories she covers.

The party was a mix itself, of hip-hop stars and tvnewsers: Katie Couric, HLN anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNN correspondents Alina Cho, Susan Candiotti; CNN SVP Bart Feder, …In America EP  Geraldine Moriba, New York bureau chief Darius Walker, development EP David Doss and newly appointed EP of Piers Morgan’s show Jonathan Wald were all in attendance.

O’Brien mingled with guests all while getting around with a cane. “It’s a step up from the crutches,” O’Brien told us. She’s still nursing a knee injury after being thrown from a horse in early October. O’Brien will continue the book tour with a stop in New Orleans. That event will be a fundraiser as residents continue to recover from Hurricane Katrina, a story O’Brien covered extensively.

Also at the party:

Former CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein (right with O’Brien and Arce)  was here. In his goodbye note to CNN staff upon his firing in September Klein called O’Brien, “the pre-eminent African-American journalist in the world.”

Business news reporter Jen Rogers, who is the inspiration for the “30 Rock” character Avery Jessup and her husband “30 Rock” Executive Producer Robert Carlock were here. Rogers joked that she’s trying to persuade Carlock to work in more TV news plot lines.

Wald, one of CNN’s newest hires, tells us he’s building his “Piers Morgan” team, with the show prepping for a January launch. Expect Morgan to host most of his shows from New York with several weeks in Los Angeles when “America’s Got Talent” is in production.

CNN SVP Bart Feder speaks to the crowd at Soledad O’Brien’s book party.

Earlier on TVNewser: The MediaBeat interview with Soledad O’Brien.

(Photos: Steve Fenn/CNN)