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November 4th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Mission Possible: Linking Women

Imagine being diagnosed with cancer. That's hard enough.

Not having anyone who understands what you're going though can make it that much harder.

There's a website to make sure you don't go through it alone. Today we talked to Vicki Tashman. She's a breast cancer survivor, and the founder of that amazing website that links women affected by breast cancer with one another.

Check it out: http://www.pink-link.org


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Mission Possible
October 22nd, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Mission Possible: Jonathan Greenblatt

Today on the show we talked to Jonathan Greenblatt, the President of All for Good. It's a web-based platform that shows volunteers opportunities for how THEY can help, and is used on big sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It's also the platform for serve.gov, President Obama's initiative to get people serving in their communities.

Jonathan also mentioned Home 4 the Holidays, a pet adoption campaign just in time for the holiday season.

More information on Home 4 the Holidays

Ways you can help through All for Good

The government's service website

More about Jonathan
(or follow him on Twitter! @j0nathan_g)


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon • Mission Possible
October 15th, 2010
10:09 AM ET

"IT WILL GET BETTER"

We get to do some pretty cool things on our show every day, no doubt but it's days like today that we are really proud of. It's days like today where we get to put courageous people front and center–in this case, one courageous person. Gay, straight, black, white, rich or poor–it does not matter, when it comes to the bullying of our world's children to the point where they are hanging themselves or shooting themselves at 11, 12 or 13 years old there is only one position. One.

Fort Worth councilman Joel Burns
took 13 minutes of city time to share a very personal story on
Tuesday night.

It was a risk.
Professionally.
Personally.
But he did it.  He did it for Billy Lucas. He did it for Justin Oberg. He
did it for Tyler Clemente. He did it for Raymond Chase. He did it for 
Zach Carrington. He did it for Seth Walsh. He did it for Asher Brown. He did it for District 9. He did it for his parents. He did it for he and
his husband, JD.

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns (right) with his husband JD.


Today we applaud Mr. Burns for his message to bullied teenagers
that "it will get better" and to hang on. If you have not heard his
words, you can listen to them above. It is 13 minutes of your life
well spent if you have children, know children or live in a community
where bullying takes place day in and day out people live in silence
around it.  Today Joel joined us to talk about what he said the other
night and why he did it. We wanted to have him on because his
words are so important for everyone beyond the limits of Fort Worth District 9 and the city council meeting to hear. 
Ali Velshi Interviews Ft. Worth Councilman Joel Burns

We invite you to share your thoughts here. Share your thoughts on Ali's Facebook page. Keep the conversation going.  In the meantime, we've put some links below that are great resources in the cause:

The Trevor Project

Family Guide to Dealing with Anti-Gay Harassment

Student Guide to Dealing with Anti-Gay Harassment

Teacher Guide to Dealing with Anti-Gay Harassment

Follow @JoelBurns on Twitter...Talk with children. Join our conversation...


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Clips from CNN Newsroom • CNN Newsroom • Mission Possible • XYZ
October 15th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Meet the Team!

 

Kelly

 

KELLY: Executive Producer & Professional Juggler Twitter:@KellyFrankCNN

I grew up with Brokaw and Jennings as the journalists who shaped me, thinking Hemingway was the greatest writer who ever lived, certain I would marry George Michael and believing I could grow up and do anything. Three out of four ain't bad. For a living, I brainstorm, prod creative, wonderful minds, jump through hoops, negotiate space and time, exist in multiple places at the same time, influence and inform mass amounts of people and occasionally lose my cool. It's called Executive Producing and most days, I'm the luckiest girl on earth. So thanks for allowing me to be. I've worked for NBC and FOX along the way. My career has taken me from Columbus, Ohio to Milwaukee to Phoenix to D.C. to around the world. In a previous life, I had a mean curve ball that paid for my English degree. I'm a diehard Buckeye fan, have two ridiculously gorgeous golden retrievers who leave dog hair on everything I own, like my guacamole spicy and *may* have a minor addiction to Neil Diamond and all things Apple.

EP NOTE: I'm very proud of this show. The reason this show is what it is, is because of the team that builds it. Ali and I are so fortunate to have such talent and interesting perspectives working alongside us. As you will see by what you are about to read–they are very unique, smart & interesting in their own ways. We have fun. We hope it shows in what you see.

 

Sara

SARA: Producer & Fashion Guru Twitter:@SaraMcCNN

 

News is my passion… but coming in a close second is volunteering - especially to improve the lives of women and children. I’m originally from Texas, although I haven’t lived there since I was in college. I do make annual treks home – those wide open plains and starry skies make it a hard state to stay away from. Other true loves: traveling, reading, observing, dancing, laughing, eating chocolate ice cream, watching college football … and yes, dare I say it: the mall.

 

Christina

 

CHRISTINA: Producer & Resident Geek Twitter:@ChristinaCNN

“I have a blast working with one of the hardest working and best dressed men in TV news. And no, I’m not just saying that ‘cause he’s my boss. I am the resident science geek and space nerd on the show. I handle The Big I segment that airs Monday-Friday around 1:50pm EDT every day. Having worked & lived in Nashville, Little Rock and Orlando, I do have to say that Atlanta is my favorite city thus far. And without sounding too much like a personal ad, I love the beach, the mountains, reading, writing, but not arithmetic.”

 

 

Cinterro

 

CINTERRO: Writer & Segment Producer

When people ask me what I do at CNN, my response is that it depends on the day of the week, and it really does. I spend the first part of the week either writing or copy editing for Ali’s shows. On the weekends, I’m in the control room as the PM fonts editor. I came to CNN in September 2006, and I only recently joined Ali’s team in June. Before CNN, I worked as a line producer for more than 10 years in Atlanta, West Palm Beach, Florida and Columbus, Georgia. I graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunication/Film.

 

"Guth"

 

"GUTH": Lead Writer, Segment Producer & Political Junkie

Ronald Reagan was president, gas cost $1.20 a gallon and tween heartthrob Justin Bieber was five years away from being born when I started work at Headline News (now HLN) in January 1989. CNN was not yet nine years old; Headline News had just turned seven. I was 12. In my earlier youth I attended Northwestern University and produced local newscasts in Lexington and Louisville, Ky. I moved to CNN just before the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and though I’ve always been, and always will be, a “writer,” the job itself has grown and changed – and grown - along with the network, the business and the world. I hope to keep growing with it.

 

Walt"

 

WALT: Writer, Segment Producer & hands down-team expert on all things Afghanistan

A diehard print journalist who mysteriously ended up in TV after a brief stint on a small newspaper in east Tennessee and 11 years in Asia reporting for UPI and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (back in the days when it was a real newspaper). Along the way, I covered wars, military coups, Cory Aquino’s People Power Revolution, political assassinations, the Pope, Charles and Diana (we exchanged pleasantries at a Tokyo reception), the madness and amazement of the Indian subcontinent, opening of China to the U.S., Orwellian North Korea (actually it’s much worse), the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan where I became known as Walter of Afghanistan after a three-week trek with my Mujahideen (Afghan freedom fighters – don’t confuse them with the Taliban),bizarre and fascinating Japan (at the time a 21 century country in the 20 century), the intrigue and freighting Burma (now ruled by thugs under the name of Myanmar), seductive and mysterious Thailand, Summerset Maugham’s Malaysia and Singapore, former British colony and world of Suzy Wong Hong Kong, romantic and gambler’s paradise Macau, the Golden Triangle, and Graham Greene’s Vietnam, especially the war ghosts of Hue and Da Nang. My advice – be adventurous and answer the call of your Wanderlust.

 

 

Jason

 

JASON a.k.a. "JReid": Associate Producer (also can be seen as the Ali Velshi Team Resident Basketball TV Expert during March Madness) Twitter:@JReidCNN

If I were a tree, I’d be a Redwood; namely because I’m tall and my hair bares a shade of red… or ‘burnt orange’ as it’s been called. I started at CNN almost 4 years ago as a VJ. Almost immediately I drew attention, mostly because of my height and the booming voice I used to give anchors time cues in commercial breaks. I’ve worked in various capacities since that fateful day in August of 2006: VJ, Editorial Assistant, Assignment Editor, and the title I’ve attached to various e-mails for the past year or so: Associate Producer. So what does that mean? Where there’s a camera, there’s raw video. Where there’s raw video, there’s a guy like me waiting on the ‘production line’ ready to make some sense of it and help tell the story that our expert writers carefully put together each day. Outside of the daily TV grind I’m an avid runner, coffee drinker, smiler, and part-time geek. I read just about any blog dealing with tech/gadgets and I’m certain my bank account thanks those crafty writers for keeping it active. Born and raised in the south, but unfortunately don’t have the accent to prove it (still working on that after all these years).

 

Michael

 

MICHAEL: Senior Director, Master Problem Solver, Mr. Solution and just all around Fix-It Man!

My career in Television News started here at CNN. After earning a BA in Speech Communications/Broadcasting from Penn State, and a Master's degree in Media Arts from The University of South Carolina, I was hired as a Video Journalist (see also entry level position). Today, after much hard work and luck, I am the Director of the Ali Velshi Show; the smartest show at CNN.

 

Marie

Senior Editorial Producer a.k.a. Master Booker! Twitter: @MarieCNN

Born and raised in the Bronx, NY-home of my favorite NY Yankees, Fordham University (my alma mater), and the other "Little Italy"-I’m a news junkie—having most likely been born with a newspaper in hand and transistor radio by my ear! I’m originally from the world of news-talk radio, spending my formative career years with the best in the business, then moving on to the world of CNN where I honed my craft during primetime at 8pm. I now have the extraordinary privilege of working with the brilliant and oh so stylish Mr. Velshi! I handle ALL things guest and editorial related for the smartest broadcast on television, and have names, numbers and ideas in all parts of my brain! I truly love my job and this outstanding, accomplished team…I get to do what I always wanted to…pretty wonderful and rare! I’m a super proud mom of the finest young man and athlete I know, and wear multiple hats at all times!!

For the past several years, I’ve been producing some of the most important stories of our time, have met newsmakers from all over the world and not a day goes by where I don’t pinch myself! My passions include travel, music, all things Sinatra and fine dining……while holding a secret wish that I will one day realize my dream of becoming either a sommelier or wine/lounge owner–— but I guess that’s not such a secret anymore!

Lindsay: Associate Producer

I came to CNN 2007 and worked my way up from studio assistant, to CNN International, and then coming over to the Ali show. Before landing in Atlanta I worked at an orphanage in Lesotho, Africa. I have also spent time in the slums of Kenya working at a Mother Teresa orphanage. I have a passion for anything involving Africa and the fight against HIV/Aids! I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida, and have no idea how I ended up living without a beach in my backyard. I graduated from the University of Florida School of Journalism so I consider myself an expert in Hurricane Coverage and winning National Championships, Go Gators! In my “free time” I am working towards my Master’s in Theology. I should be done in like four more years! My role on the team includes looking for video elements, creating segments that are visually interesting, and going on wild goose chases for the best images. My favorite thing about working with the team is the desire to take a story deeper, and the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes!

Allie

Allison: Floor Director & Moonlights as Ali's Hair Stylist

Proving that great things come in small packages, Allie, or “Little Allie” as I am known by the team hails from New Jersey (Not Joisey!) and I am the Chief Velshi Wrangler, also known as floor director. Using only my bare hands (and occasionally a cattle prod when Big Ali gets feisty), I make sure the boss gets to where he needs to be with minimum light glares off his head (we call them intelligence beams) and makes sure his cup runneth over… with cough syrup. My dream was to combine my three passions; journalism, helping others, and coffee. As Kelly said before, two out of three ain’t bad. I'm still trying to find a way to break into journalism…

Chris

Chris: Copy editor and Softball Chaffeur

My journalism career began on a whim when I was a sophomore at USC (Go Gamecocks!). I walked into the local UPI bureau to ask about a part-time job. They sat me down at a computer and said "write a story." It showed up on page A6 of the New York Times the next day. And I was hooked. My junior year, I got a second job as a TV reporter, even though I looked 12. I spent way more time chasing stories than I did in class. After graduating, I did a little creative advertising work (my real major) for a couple of months. But I missed the news, so it was on to CNN. That was 1989. My first big story was the Alaska oil spill. Then came the Gulf War, sitting in court with O.J., Sept. 11th, more wars, another oil spill, and too many other stories in between to remember. Twenty-one years later, I still can't wait for the next big one to break. And I still have a full head of hair.

"Mikey" my alter ego

Doug: Writer & Segment Producer

I bring a unique historical perspective to the team, because I'm actually several hundred years old. Though you can't tell by my young looks. This is my 10-th incarnation. In 8 of my previous "lives", I died gloriously on the field of battle. Anzio, Gallipoli, the Alamo, Bull Run, all sites of my demise. It's through those experiences that I can bring a much needed glass-half-empty take on the stories of the day. In this current "life" I have steered clear of armed conflict, though for a time I wrestled professionally under the name "Jelly Donut." If you are wondering, in "life" number 3, I was a cobbler in Amsterdam, but died from an infection caused by a wooden shoe splinter.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Chalk Talk • Mission Possible • Off the Radar • Q&A • The Big I • The StakeOut with Ed Henry • The Stream Team • XYZ
October 12th, 2010
01:33 PM ET

Mission Possible: Mayor of Their Street

The mayor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts joined Ali to talk about a new initiative she recently launched.

If you'd like more information about Fitchburg, check out the city's website. For more on the "Mayors" program, there's a good piece in the Boston Globe.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Mission Possible
October 11th, 2010
01:49 PM ET

MISSION POSSIBLE: I Make America Campaign

Today's Mission Possible is Mike Rowe.  You may have seen him on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs show.  He's tried 300 of the dirtiest jobs out there, like changing a lightbulb 600 feet up in the air or cleaning out skulls.  His work is all about bringing respect to the skilled workers who make life possible for the rest of us.  We're talking about plumbers, rig workers, car technicians, etc.  We're expected to see a shortage of these workers in the next few years.

To check out the I Make America campaign, click here.

Also check out Mike Rowe Works website by clicking here.

To check out his show Dirty Jobs, click here.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Mission Possible
October 8th, 2010
01:48 PM ET

MISSION POSSIBLE: Pink Comics

In today's Mission Possible, when you read your newspaper this Sunday, don't think there was an ink mishap when you see nothing but pink in the comics section.  It's all to raise awareness about breast cancer.  To read up on the project,  click here.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon • Mission Possible
October 6th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

MISSION POSSIBLE: I Need a Pencil

We all know college can be expensive and 'totally' out of reach for many families.  Well, getting 'into' college can be expensive too.  Some of these College Board prep courses can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.  That certainly doesn't help close "The Achievement Gap" that exists in this country.

Check out these stats:  Low-income students score an average of 300 points lower on their SAT's than high-income students...with 37% going to college, versus 81% of their high-income peers.

That's something Jason Shah found out about as a teenager, after doing some research.  And that led 'him' to try to level the playing field a little bit, by launching a free, online SAT prep site: INeedAPencil.com.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Mission Possible
October 5th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

MISSION POSSIBLE: Teaching Black Kids To Swim

Marcellus Wiley is a former NFL player...a defensive end for the Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, and Jaguars.  He played TEN seasons!  Plus he's an Ivy Leaguer who graduated from Columbia University in '97.  But despite his athletic prowess, he never learned to swim.  And he's not alone.  Nearly 70% of all black children can't swim.  So now he's tackling the water with a program called the Distance Swim Challenge.

To read up on the swim event, click here.

You can also check out Marcellus Wiley's company by clicking here.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Mission Possible
October 4th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

MISSION POSSIBLE: Photo Mosaic for Charity

Every day on Mission Possible we highlight people who inspire & do things to change their communities and the world.  Today on the show we spoke to an amazing kid on a mission to create the world's largest photo mosaic for charity.

To check out Alex Darrow's website, click here.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Don Lemon • Mission Possible
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