Chris O’Brien

14 rue Perchepinte
31000 Toulouse


LOS ANGELES TIMES, Silicon Valley, California, November 2012 – September 2014.

*Reporter, Blogger. Beat reporter responsible for covering Apple, Cybersecurity and Silicon Valley. Wrote breaking news, enterprise and features stories.

THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, San Jose, California, July 1999 – November 2012.

*Columnist and blogger, Business Desk, May 2008-November 2012. Write twice weekly column with opinion and analysis of events, trends, technologies and companies in Silicon Valley ranging across topics such as the Internet, information technology, biotechnology and green innovations. Blog on related subjects at

*Steering Committee Member, Rethinking the Mercury News, July 2007-February 2008. Part of eight-member committee appointed by management to reinvent the newsroom and create products to re-orient the company toward growth opportunities. Co-managed research plan which incorporated human-centered design principles; built prototypes of new print product based on that study; wrote a business plan and Web site plan for a new niche online product aimed at start-up and venture capital industries.

*Economy Reporter, Business Desk, May 2004 – Jun 2007. Covered economy of world’s leading technology region with a focus on trends, enterprise, and explanatory writing. Major stories included the widening income gap, consolidation of technology industry, and the demise of Knight Ridder.

*General Assignment, Business Desk, May 2000 – May 2004. Produced projects, investigative pieces and enterprise. Covered California energy crisis, dot-com crash, and Oracle-PeopleSoft hostile takeover bid. Telecommunications, Business Desk, July 1999 – May 2000. Reported on broadband, wireless and traditional telephone industries.

THE NEXT NEWSROOM PROJECT, Oakland, California and Durham, North Carolina, May 2007-present.

Project Manager. Received a $40,000 News Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to research and design the ideal newsroom on behalf of The Chronicle, the independent student-run newspaper at Duke University. Launched a Web site at; conducted wide-ranging research to gather information and ideas; managed 30 volunteers and one contract employee; wrote proposal for futuristic newsroom; built consensus on Chronicle’s board which officially adopted proposal; planned and successfully staged two-day conference on the Newsroom of the Future at Duke.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 1992 – July 1999.

*Technology, Business Desk, April 1996 – July 1999. Covered telecommunications, networking, and Internet coverage.

*Metro Reporter, March 1992 – March 1996. Worked on a variety of beats on metro desk including county government, courts and cops.

THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, St. Petersburg, Florida, May 1990 – August 1990.

News Intern. Worked as a General Assignment Reporter for the Tampa Bureau.

Professional Activities

INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS, consultant. January 2009-present.

Innovations is the leading international consulting firm that helps traditional newsrooms transform their operations into robust, multi-media news and information operations. Advised Innovations on their annual update of their model newsroom and contributed to articles for 2009 edition of Innovations in Newspapers book produced for the World Association of Newspapers.

THE PUBLIC PRESS, advisor. January 2008-present.

Offer strategic and business advice to team preparing to launch a new, non-profit newspaper in San Francisco.

NEWS LEADERSHIP 3.0, guest blogger. December 2008-present.

Writing twice-monthly guest posts on Knight Digital Media Center blog related to reinventing newsrooms for the digital age.

IDEALAB, blogger.

October 2007-present. Idea Lab is a group blog operated by PBS for recipients of News Challenge Grants to post updates on their Knight Foundation projects and to discuss issues related to digital media and communities.

Awards and Honors


Second place, Business story, for “A Tale of Two Valleys,” about the widening gap between rich and poor in Silicon Valley.


Second place, Business story, for “A Tale of Two Valleys.”


Winner in Deadline Reporting Category along with six other Mercury News staff writers for coverage of the Frank Quattrone charges filed by the NASD.


Winner in Projects Category for “Rich Man, Poor Company,” a series written with database editor Jack Davis looking at executives who sold billions of dollars of stock during the boom, even as their companies failed.


Second place, Lifestyle Feature Writing for “A Lifetime on Deadline,” a profile of legendary cop reporter Pat Reese.

FINALIST, NIEMAN FELLOWSHIP at Harvard University, 2006 and KNIGHT JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIP at Stanford University, 2006.


DUKE UNIVERSITY, Durham, North Carolina.

Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy and History, May 1991.

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Freelance business and technology journalist based in Toulouse, France