Biography

Miles O'Brien
 
Miles O’Brien Productions


Photo of Miles O'Brien

Miles O'Brien

Miles O'Brien is a 26-year broadcast news veteran who has successfully melded a talent for telling complex stories in accessible terms with a lifelong passion for aviation, space and technology. Based in New York City, he owns a production company that creates, produces and distributes original content across all media platforms.

Since leaving CNN Miles has been involved with Space Flight Now streaming live webcasts of the remaining Shuttle launches. He also has completed 3 documentaries with WNET in New York called Blue Print America about improving infrastructure. Currently he is completing a documentary for PBS Frontline on the crash of Continental #3407 and related aviation safety issues.

He and his wife, Sandy, shot a documentary in Africa called “Over Africa, Flying Low and Slow with the Kenya Wildlife Service.” It’s been shown at air shows around the country and most recently at the IMAX theater at the Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C.

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 numerous prestigious awards over the years for 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 seventeen 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. Over the years, O’Brien’s passion for aviation has seeped its way into some award winning broadcast news journalism.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, O'Brien used his flight experience to provide viewers radar tracks of the hijacked flights while the twin towers were still standing. During the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, he, along with various retired generals, explained the intricacies of military aviation techniques and strategy. O'Brien has also offered extensive, insightful coverage of the airliner crashes of US Air 427, Valujet 592, TWA 800, Egyptair 990, American 587 and Comair 5191 and others. He has also brought a unique perspective to coverage of general aviation in award-winning reports on the crashes of John F. Kennedy, Jr, Payne Stewart and Paul Wellstone; the C-150 incursion into the DC ADIZ; the Cory Lidle crash in Manhattan and too many potential gear-up landings to enumerate.

Straight out of Georgetown University where he majored 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 16-year old son and a 14-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. He recently began competing in triathlons with his son.