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Updated: CNN lets go of Miles O'Brien after 16 years

December 3, 2008 |  1:21 pm

Veteran CNN anchor and reporter Miles O’Brien, who led network’s coverage of space and aviation, is being let go after a 16-year tenure at the cable news channel.

His departure, confirmed by CNN today, comes as part of an effort to consolidate the network’s science and technology reporting into its Planet in Peril franchise, produced out of the “Anderson Cooper 360” show. Along with O’Brien, who served as CNN’s chief technology and environment correspondent, six producers who work in the science, environment and technology unit in Atlanta are leaving CNN.

“We want to integrate environmental, science and technology reporting into the general editorial structure rather than have a standalone unit,” said CNN spokeswoman Barbara Levin.

O’Brien, a skilled pilot, was CNN’s point person for coverage of aviation disasters and NASA. He also sought to be the first journalist in space, securing a deal with NASA that would have allowed him to fly on the space shuttle. The plan was scuttled, however, after the 2003 crash of the Columbia shuttle.

UPDATE: In a statement, the network said that O'Brien "has made many contributions to CNN over the years. He is a terrific reporter and we wish him all the best."

CNN also released a statement from O'Brien:

In television news, a nearly 17-year stint at one shop is more than just a good run -- it is an epoch. I can honestly say I have loved every minute of my time at CNN (well, maybe not the 2:45 AM alarm bell when I was anchoring "American Morning"). It has been my privilege to be surrounded by the most talented, dedicated and creative people in the business. Collaborating with them -- sharing many great adventures -- is what I will miss the most, but I leave with great memories and great friendships intact. I see a lot of exciting opportunities and I look forward to exploring what is on the horizon -- which, after all, has been my mission at CNN all these years.

-- Matea Gold

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