Rita Aleman

Matter of Fact Executive Producer, Rita Hagen Aleman, a longtime member of the Hearst Television family, is a veteran journalist, producer, storyteller, and writer. She is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, honoring a lifetime of dedication to the television industry. She has earned multiple Emmy awards and a USC Walter Cronkite Award for her work producing politically themed programming, including a highly rated prime time news magazine show. A Wisconsin native, she is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin. Go PACK Go!

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist. She is the CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues and a thought leader whose public engagement garners wide attention. 


 O’Brien has had national impact with her books and speeches, and her presence on the nation’s op-ed pages, including the New York Times and Huffington Post. She is very active on social media, particularly Twitter where she has over 1.3 million followers. 


O’Brien currently anchors and produces the Hearst Television political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien” which is distributed by Sony Pictures. She also reports regularly for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” 


She has anchored shows on CNN, MSNBC and NBC, and hosted projects for Fox and A&E. O’Brien has contributed to the three major broadcast networks, Oxygen, Nat Geo, the PBS NewsHour and WebMD. She was a special correspondent on Al Jazeera America’s news program, America Tonight, and produced several documentaries on social issues for the network.


Earlier in her career, O’Brien anchored a show for MSNBC, before moving on to co-anchor NBC’s “Weekend Today” and contributing segments to the “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” In 2003, O’Brien transitioned to CNN, where she was the face of CNN’s morning news shows for many years and a frequent reporter and analyst for breaking news stories and election coverage. She also anchored the CNN documentary unit, where she created the “In America” documentary series “Black in America” and “Latino in America” which she continued to produce under Soledad O’Brien Productions as speaking tours.


O’Brien’s was recognized with three Emmy awards — for her coverage of the Haiti earthquake, the 2012 election and a series called “Kids and Race.” She was also honored twice with the George Foster Peabody award for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and her reporting on the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I. DuPont Award. 


Upon founding Soledad O’Brien Productions, she continued to produce documentaries and series on topics that included youth incarceration, police brutality, veterans with PTSD and the opioid epidemic for Al Jazeera, CNN and the PBS NewsHour. 


Besides HBO Real Sports and Matter of Fact, O’Brien hosted “American Injustice” a BET Town Hall on the future of criminal justice reform. She was a host of the A&E special “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America.” She was the Host and Executive Producer of the Oxygen series “Mysteries & Scandals” as well as “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession” and “Who Shot Biggie and Tupac,” both for Fox. She was also host of National Geographic Channel’s “Live From Space” and moderator and executive producer of the annual National Geographic Bee. She was Executive Producer of the Lifetime Billboard Music Awards.


She has served as Chair of the board of The After-School Corporation (now ExpandED Schools), and as a director on the boards of the Rand Corporation and the National Archives. She was a Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Distinguished Visiting Fellow.


O’Brien frequently speaks on a variety of social issues at college campuses and corporate events. She was named on People magazine’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001 and was on People en Español′s 50 Most Beautiful list in 2004. She was named to Irish American magazine’s “Top 100 Irish Americans” on two occasions, and was on Black Enterprise magazine’s 2005 Hot List. Also in 2005, she was awarded Groundbreaking Latina of the Year by Catalina magazine. In 2006 she was featured in the Newsweek cover story “15 People Who Make America Great”. 


She is the author of two books, her critically acclaimed memoir “The Next Big Story” and “Latino in America.”


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, O’Brien and her husband, Brad, created the PowHERful Foundation to help young women get to and through college. The foundation hosts the PowHerful conferences that support hundreds of young women with mentoring programs, professional advice and other services.  


She lives in New York with her husband and four children.

Joie Chen

Joie Chen brings her unique storytelling style to Matter of Fact. “What I love about the program is its commitment to understanding history, and how events of the past continue to shape our world today,”  she says.

Her reporting has taken her across the country and around the world. Joie is most often recognized for her decade as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International and CNN. She’s also been a Washington, DC correspondent for CBS News, reporting from the White House, Capitol Hill and contributing to the legendary CBS Sunday Morning. Most recently, she served as host and correspondent for Al Jazeera America’s flagship program, America Tonight.

When she’s not producing reports for Matter of Fact, Joie is pursuing her other professional passion: making journalism better. She’s a senior leader at the Poynter Institute, the world’s leading non-profit journalism education organization.

A Chicago native, she now lives outside Washington, DC.

VIEWFINDER: Hulks on the Horizon

Wind turbines, or “Hulks on the Horizon,” are part of the future of renewable energy in the U.S. Thanks to the Houston Chronicle, we get an extraordinary view of these giants on the prairie land of central Texas.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2022

Food waste and test scores. This week Matter of Fact looks at a group of Brooklyn bikers who are trying to reduce and change the way New Yorkers think about food waste. Plus, what to do about low test scores among 3rd graders and a look at the science behind why so many online daters are tired of swiping.

New Data Shows Decline in Test Scores, Especially for Online Learning Students

Standardized test results are down almost across the board, after two years of schooling during a pandemic. Soledad O’Brien speaks with Katharine Strunk, Ph.D, professor and director of the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University, about whose scores fell the most, how to bring them back up and whether repeating a grade is the best advice.

Science Shows Why Dating Fatigue Isn’t Just Happening to You

As online dating has replaced in-person “meet-cutes” and friends and family set-ups, a growing number of Americans are growing exhausted from the constant swiping and letdowns. Many even say they’re calling it quits. Laura Chavez meets with a single entrepreneur, a therapist and a biological anthropologist to figure out why dating app fatigue is so prevalent.

NY Bikers Aim to Lower Food Waste through Solar-Powered Composting Facilities

The average American produces just under five pounds of waste each day. One pound of that is food waste.  That’s more than any other nationality. New solutions are needed, especially as the garbage increasingly ends up in low-income neighborhoods. Soledad O’Brien takes a closer look at the process used by B-K Rot bikers in Brooklyn to make a business out of taking the waste to solar-powered composting facilities.

Greg Geist

For over 30 years, Greg has produced, shot, and edited hundreds of commercials and dozens of long-format presentations for businesses and non-profits. As an accomplished live-TV director and technical director in a top 20 market, he’s directed countless newscasts, political debates and live specials. Greg holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Ohio University.


With one of the largest prison populations in the world, many Americans are calling for criminal justice reform. But what does that reform look like? Abolitionist and podcaster Richie Reseda, a formerly incarcerated person, comes together with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry to discuss common ground.