Photograph courtesy Mark Hill
Published May 22, 2013
The answer is Soledad O'Brien, a CNN special correspondent, who will step into Trebek's worldly shoes starting in 2014. Held each year in Washington, D.C., the annual spelling bee-like competition was founded in 1989 in response to the perceived lack of geographic knowledge among children in the U.S. (Read about 2013's top ten National Geographic Bee finalists.)
A well-traveled journalist, O'Brien has reported on breaking news worldwide.
In 2011, she won an Emmy for Crisis in Haiti in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story Long Form. O'Brien was also part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its BP oil spill and Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, according to her professional biography.
The National Association of Black Journalists named O'Brien the Journalist of the Year and Edward R. Murrow Awards lauded her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for her Latino in America special in 2010.
O'Brien also has some hosting experience under her belt—she's hosted and developed CNN's award-winning Black in America franchise.
And in 2010, she wrote a critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities, which chronicles her biggest reporting moments and how her upbringing and background have influenced these experiences.
As for Trebek, he told National Geographic this week that retiring from the Bee is "a little sad." He and O'Brien have crossed paths before: she was a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy! in 2009.
"It's been a wonderful experience. It's going to be like leaving a family, because we have become a lot like a family over the past quarter century.
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