Miles O'Brien is a 30-year broadcast news veteran who has successfully melded a talent for telling complex stories in accessible terms with a lifelong passion for aviation, space, science and technology.
Based in New York City, he owns a production company that creates, produces and distributes compelling stories across all media platforms.
He is the science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.
He has done several documentaries for PBS - four on transportation an infrastructure issued for the WNET Blueprint America project and one for WGBH Frontline: “Flying Cheap” focused on the crash of Continental Flight 3407 and safety concerns surrounding the rise if regional airlines.
He is chief correspondent for the National Science Foundation series “Science Nation” and the Discovery Science Channel series “Innovation Nation”.
He also appears on the radio serving as a frequent guest anchor of “The Takeaway” and “The Leonard Lopate Show” on WNET/New York.
He is Managing Editor of “This Week in Space” - a popular webcast found at www.SpaceflightNow.com
. In partnership with that site, he has pioneered web-based live, extended coverage of space shuttle launches that have lured a global audience of more than 200,000 viewers.
O’Brien is also an advisor to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. He serves as Chairman of the Education and Public Outreach Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. He is also currently working on a documentary and book on the space shuttle program and the rise of a private sector space industry.
For nearly 17 years he worked as a correspondent, anchor and producer for CNN based in Atlanta and New York. At various times he was CNN's science, space, aviation, technology and environment correspondent.
During his time at CNN, he also anchored a myriad of news and talk programs, including Science and Technology Week, CNN Saturday and Sunday Morning, Talkback Live, Headline News Primetime, CNN Live From…and CNN American Morning.
O’Brien has received three Emmys, a DuPont and Peabody and numerous other prestigious awards over the years for his coverage of hurricanes, wars and politics in addition to his coverage of space, aviation, science, technology and the environment.
O’Brien may be best known for his coverage of the US space program. In February of 2003, he led the network’s acclaimed coverage of the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia. He was on the air live for 16 solid hours helping guide a shocked and saddened country through a national tragedy.
Unknown to viewers at the time, the loss of Columbia represented the sudden end of a long-held dream for O’Brien. Only days before (and after years of negotiations) CNN and NASA had reached an agreement that would have made O’Brien the first journalist to fly to on the space shuttle to visit the International Space Station.
O’Brien has covered every major space story in the past twenty years: the repair missions to the Hubble Space Telescope; the shuttle dockings at Mir; the launch of the first space station crew from Kazakhstan; several robotic landings on Mars and the private sector endeavors of Burt Rutan and others.
In October of 1998, he co-anchored CNN’s coverage of John Glenn’s return to space with broadcast veteran Walter Cronkite.
In 2000, he produced, shot and wrote a one-hour documentary on the intricate, sometimes-perilous process of readying a space shuttle for flight. "Terminal Count: What it Takes to Make the Space Shuttle Fly" aired in May 2001.
O’Brien is a third generation general aviation pilot and the owner of a small single-engine airplane. He frequently flies himself to and from assignments and is often called upon to explain complex aviation stories for a mass media audience.
He attended Georgetown University – majoring in history. He worked for a dozen years as a reporter, anchor and producer at a series of local TV stations – in Washington DC, St. Joseph MO, Albany NY, Tampa FL and Boston MA. He earned two Emmy awards along the way for coverage of a chlorine leak in a Florida neighborhood and an emerging gang problem in Boston.
O’Brien was born in Detroit, Michigan June 9, 1959 and grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms. He is married to the former Sandra Fossett. They have two children – a 17-year old son and a 16-year old daughter. O’Brien is an avid runner, cyclist (mountain and road) and swimmer. He loves to ski (snow and water) and SCUBA dive.
Moderator/Master of Ceremonies
O’Brien’s experience and background in the fast-paced world of television news -coupled with his passion and knowledge about space, aviation, science and the need to improve STEM education in the United States - make him a perfect master of ceremonies or moderator for meetings or galas that focus on science and technology policy. He is used to thinking on his feet and can make your meeting more memorable.
Fun, interesting, engaging, multimedia talks
He can also address the following themes in custom-tailored talks:
The tectonic shifts in the media business: through his personal story, he can talk about the decline of mainstream media – and the rise of media by of and for the masses. With searing, personal analysis, supported by humorous anecdotes, he tells audiences how best to respond – and thrive – in the face of big, fundamental change. And how best to deal with a drastically changed media landscape.
O’Brien says the “barbarians are inside the palace gates – and all the rules are changing. But there are big opportunities for those who understand how.”
How the media covers risk – and how those who are involved in risky endeavors should manage their story – not run from it. “It is essential to tell your own story – good or bad,” says O’Brien. “Nature abhors a vacuum and the media will fill it with fiction.”
How green revolution can lead to some “green”. O’Brien has covered green technologies for nearly 20 years and has an amazing breadth and depth of insight in this sector. His speeches include excerpts of interviews and stories he has gathered over the years to illustrate his points. “Green is the new green,” says O’Brien. “If Americans don’t get that soon – China will be the home of all the innovation as we move away from fossil fuels into this exciting cleaner world.”
The new space revolution – O’Brien has been on the front row of a sea change in space. It goes without saying that he knows NASA, its engineers, scientists and astronauts very well. But he also knows the young, bold entrepreneurs who hope to turn space into a real business. He bemoans the fact that only about 500 people have ever traveled in space since the first launches 50 years ago. “We should be flying 500 people a week – and it will happen before too long, unless political forces block some key changes in the way NASA does business.” says O’Brien.
All about change
Miles O’Brien is the perfect person to address your audience and motivate your people as they grapple with a sea of changes. For two decades, he has made it his business to cover the leading edge of scientific and technological change – and he has a personal tale to tell of how change can impact all of our lives.
The bottom line theme: change really is good – even though it doesn’t always feel that way when it happens.