Black News

Soledad O’Brien Gets a New Morning Show on CNN

by Dr. Boyce Watkins – Your Black World

It is being reported on the Huffington Post that CNN has given a morning show to Soledad O’Brien.  The show is called “Starting Point,” and will air from 7 – 9 am each morning.  It starts on January 2 of 2012.

It was announced recently by CNN that they are going to cut their show, “American Morning” and break it into two separate shows, one from 5 – 7 am and the other from 7 – 9 am.   Soledad once hosted American Morning, from 2003 – 2007 and was brought back after spending time away doing other projects.

Soledad will begin reporting from Iowa, where she will take a seat a the caucuses, set to take place on January 3.

Soledad’s voice on CNN’s morning shows will be an added bonus for the network, which suffers from the same diversity problems as all the others.  We can say, however, that this has been a year of modest, yet questionable, progress for African Americans in this pseudo-journalistic space.  Rev. Al Sharpton appears to be doing well with his MSNBC show, “Politics Nation,” but there isn’t much else happening for African American journalists seeking to host shows on major cable news networks.

As far as nightly shows on cable news networks are concerned, there still isn’t a single African American journalist on the air.  By hiring Rev. Al Sharpton, MSNBC was able to silence one of the strongest voices on the matter, but Sharpton’s statement “All white, all night” still applies as much as it did a year ago.  The hiring of a Baptist minister and Civil Rights leader is not the same as hiring a seasoned journalist who has spent a career engaged in hardcore reporting and research.  This is not to critique the hiring of Rev. Al Sharpton, but it is to say that the job is not yet finished.

CNN’s move with Soledad is obviously a step in the right direction, but there is a great deal of work to be done.  Additionally, authentic African American media outlets must also be supported to give black folks a chance to tell our story without it being watered down by a broader agenda.   Progress has been made most certainly, but we’ve still got a long way to go.  It’s time to move beyond journalistic tokenism.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

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