Edward O'Keefe

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Edward O'Keefe
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Edward Fitzpatrick O’Keefe

(1978-02-16) February 16, 1978 (age 45)
Grand Forks, ND, USA
CitizenshipUnited States
OccupationChief Executive Officer
Spouse(s)Allison Davis O’Keefe
  • William G. O’Keefe (father)
  • Heather C. (Holmes) O’Keefe (mother)

Edward Fitzpatrick O’Keefe is the Chief Executive Officer of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation and author of the upcoming biography The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt.[1] O’Keefe worked at ABC News, before co-founding media start-up NowThis.[2] After serving as the Editor-in-Chief of NowThis for two years, O’Keefe moved to CNN to lead the strategy and growth of CNN businesses including CNNMoney, CNN Politics, and Travel.[3] In 2019, O’Keefe was accepted as a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he researched the future of journalism and streaming news, publishing his findings in his paper “Streaming War Won.”[4] During his time at Harvard, O’Keefe also conducted research on Theodore Roosevelt. After leaving Harvard, O’Keefe spent time consulting news organizations and continuing his research before officially announcing his work on his upcoming biography, and his new role as CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.[1]


Edward F. O’Keefe was born in Grand Forks, ND to William G. O’Keefe and Heather C. (Holmes) O’Keefe on February 16, 1978.[5] O’Keefe attended Red River High School, whose mascot is aptly the Roughrider, in honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Rider volunteer cavalry that fought in the Spanish-American War. During his time at Red River, O’Keefe found himself involved in a range of activities, including the arts–he credits the Grand Forks Public Schools’ Summer Performing Arts program in providing a “formative experience,” that left a lasting impact.[5] Several of his hometown teachers helped plant the seeds for O’Keefe’s career, exposing him to the arts as well as politics and history.[5] O’Keefe graduated in 1996 and went on to study Government and Psychology & English at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with honors cum laude.[5]

O’Keefe now lives in New York with his wife, Allison Davis O’Keefe, a photographer, and two children.[6]



After graduating from Georgetown University in 2000, O’Keefe began his professional career as an entry-level desk assistant at ABC, before going through a range of roles, including: reporter & producer covering Capitol Hill and the 2004 presidential campaign; producer at This Week with George Stephanopoulos; Senior Political Editor; Managing Editor of ABCNews.com; and finally Executive Producer of ABCNews.com.[7][8][9]

O’Keefe’s first day on Capitol Hill was 9/11. Assigned to work as a producer for Linda Douglass, O’Keefe arrived on Capitol Hill before the terrorist attacks. Douglass and O’Keefe convinced then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Dela.) to appear on ABC News. Biden was the first government official to declare publicly the terrorist attacks were likely conducted by al-Qaeda.[10]

O’Keefe is credited with breaking the story that led to the eventual resignation of then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Lott, at the 100th birthday party for Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-Miss.), remarked that if Thurmond, who ran on a segregationist platform in 1948 had won, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems all these years.”[11] After the ABC News programs World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Nightline, and Good Morning America declined to run the story on television, O’Keefe wrote the story for ABCNews.com. It was the first time an online story–from a blog–led to major breaking news and O’Keefe’s effort became the subject of a Harvard University study: “Big Media Meets the Bloggers: Coverage of Trent Lott’s Remarks at Strom Thurmond’s Birthday Party."[12][13][14][15]

O’Keefe covered the 2004 presidential election. On the road for nearly 16 months with Sen. John Kerry, O’Keefe was first to report Kerry’s concession live on-air in an ABC News Special Report with Charlie Gibson.[16]

Back in Washington, DC after the 2004 election, O’Keefe covered the Senate confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court alongside George Stephanopulos.[17] O’Keefe then joined Stephanopoulos at the Sunday show This Week. As a producer at This Week with George Stephanopoulos, O’Keefe created the show’s first hybrid series for television and the Internet. For both the program and the web, O’Keefe interviewed George Clooney on Darfur,[18] Nora Ephron,[19] Stephen Colbert,[20] Sigourney Weaver,[21], and John Updike,[22] among others. O’Keefe also credited the digital-only series, “The Green Room,” an extension of the show’s most popular segment, the Roundtable.

As Executive Producer, O’Keefe led teams of over 100 members in cultivating the editorial direction of ABCNews.com. He served as the editorial lead on the Yahoo!-ABC News strategic partnership, social media, and the relationship between all ABC News television broadcasts and the site, mobile web, iPad, iPhone and Android products.[8][9]


After his 12-year stint at ABC, O’Keefe was the founding editor-in-chief of the media start-up NowThis in 2012.[3]


After two years at NowThis, O’Keefe became the VP of CNNMoney and CNN Politics.[23][24] In 2016, O’Keefe took on a larger role as SVP of Premium Content, overseeing the strategy for the CNNMoney and Politics teams, as well as Style, Tech, Travel, Media & Entertainment, CNN Arabic, and CNN’s digital relationship with HLN.[25] And in 2018, O’Keefe became the SVP of Content Development. In this role, O'Keefe oversaw franchises, partnerships, and revenue development through CNN’s mobile, social, video, podcast, newsletter, and subscription services across CNN Digital Worldwide, as well as developing technologies such as virtual reality.[26] These partnerships and efforts include The Axe Files with David Axelrod and CNN’s original documentary podcast Election 2000: Over/Time.[27] O'Keefe also was instrumental in launching ExplorePartsUnknown.com,[28] the digital companion to the Emmy and Peabody award winning Parts Unknown series with Anthony Bourdain.[29][30][31]

Harvard Kennedy School

In January 2019, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, based at Harvard Kennedy School, announced its Spring 2019 class of fellows, which included media hard-hitters, ranging from Adam Serwer and Maria Hinojosa to O’Keefe himself. The fellowship involves four months of research resulting in an original body of work focused on the intersection of media, politics, and public policy. During O’Keefe’s time at Harvard, he published research on news streaming in his paper “Streaming War Won.”[32] O’Keefe also spent time conducting research on Theodore Roosevelt–examining unpublished letters, correspondence, and written records, particularly originating during Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota.[1] O’Keefe conducted this research primarily for his forthcoming book, The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt, but these efforts would guide O'Keefe to his next endeavor: the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

While at Harvard, O’Keefe encountered fellow North Dakotan and Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum board member Robert Lauf, who encouraged O’Keefe to meet with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. With this connection, Lauf and Burgum would bring O’Keefe to take the reins as CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation.[33]

Under O'Keefe's leadership, the Foundation has set out broader guiding principles of Conservation, Leadership, and Citizenship to explore Roosevelt's life and legacy.[34]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Oct 19th 2019 - 11am, Adam Kurtz |. "'It was providential': Grand Forks native in first weeks as CEO of Roosevelt Library project". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  2. "Ken Lerer's CNN-Killer Hires a CNN Veteran". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kafka, Peter (2014-05-13). "NowThisNews' Top Editor Ed O'Keefe Heads to CNN". Vox. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  4. Featured, in; news, In the (2019-01-09). "Shorenstein Center Announces Spring 2019 Fellows". Shorenstein Center. Retrieved 2020-07-28. {{cite web}}: |last2= has generic name (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Sep 13th 2018 - 3pm, Pamela D. Knudson |. "Grand Forks native Ed O'Keefe receives Primetime Emmy for Anthony Bourdain spinoff". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  6. http://www.allisondavisokeefe.com. "Allison Davis O'Keefe". Allison Davis O'Keefe. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: External link in |last= (help)
  7. "Exit Interview: Ed O'Keefe". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "LinkedIn - Edward O'Keefe".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Association, Media Financial Management. "CNN's Ed O'Keefe to Deliver Keynote Address at Media Finance Focus 2016". Multichannel. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  10. News, A. B. C. "Video: Sept. 11, 2002: Revisiting Capitol Hill Reactions". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  11. "Sen. Trent Lott remarks on Sen. Strom Thurmond 100th Birthday | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  12. "PressThink: The Legend of Trent Lott and the Weblogs". archive.pressthink.org. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  13. ""Big Media" Meets the "Bloggers": Coverage of Trent Lott's Remarks at Strom Thurmond's Birthday Party ^ HKS849". HBR Store. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  14. Stuart, Allan (2006-08-01). Online News: Journalism And The Internet: Journalism and the Internet. McGraw-Hill Education (UK). ISBN 978-0-335-22121-9.
  15. jjessicalam. "The Unfortunate Ending to a Politician's Career Because of Social Media | New Media and Society". Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  16. News, A. B. C. "Video: Nov. 3, 2004: Bush Wins Re-Election". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  17. News, A. B. C. "Ed O'Keefe Named Senior Producer, Special Projects and Innovation for ABCNews.com". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  18. News, A. B. C. "George Clooney Makes Darfur Demands". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  19. News, A. B. C. "VOICES: Nora Ephron Breaks the Glass Ceiling". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  20. News, A. B. C. "Ed O'Keefe Named Senior Producer, Special Projects and Innovation for ABCNews.com". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  21. News, A. B. C. "Sigourney Weaver on the Leading Killer of Women". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  22. News, A. B. C. "Updike Aims to Stretch Readers' Sympathy". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  23. "Exit Interview: Ed O'Keefe". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  24. Lynch, Matthew. "CNN names NowThis News' Ed O'Keefe V.P. of CNNMoney and politics". POLITICO Media. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  25. "CNN rolls out a new travel vertical". Digiday. 2017-06-12. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  26. "Edward F. O'Keefe Appointed Chief Executive Officer of Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum". Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  27. https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/07/politics/election-2000-over-time/
  28. https://explorepartsunknown.com/
  29. "Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown". Television Academy. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  30. "CNN Original Series "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" Wins Five Primetime Emmy Awards and "United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell" Wins Two". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  31. Sep 13th 2018 - 3pm, Pamela D. Knudson |. "Grand Forks native Ed O'Keefe receives Primetime Emmy for Anthony Bourdain spinoff". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  32. https://shorensteincenter.org/streaming-war-won/
  33. Oct 19th 2019 - 11am, Adam Kurtz |. "'It was providential': Grand Forks native in first weeks as CEO of Roosevelt Library project". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  34. Dec 15th 2019 - 5pm, Jeremy Turley |. "Roosevelt library group spells out path forward in 'foundational' document". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved 2020-07-28.

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