Wonder Women of Los Angeles 2024: Geraldine Moriba

Geraldine Moriba of theGrio
Geraldine Moriba (Image credit: theGrio)

It seems pretty unusual for an industry executive’s résumé to list being an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer and filmmaker, entrepreneur, podcast host and research scientist. Yet theGrio’s Geraldine Moriba can lay claim to all that and more.

The Toronto native attributes her various pursuits to her mother, who encouraged her at a very young age to diversify her interests. “I was curious and interested in as many things as a kid as I am as an adult,” she said. “The one thing you could not say to my mom is that you were bored, because her response would be to get a book to read and use our imagination.” 

Also Read: Wonder Women of Los Angeles 2024: Honoring the West’s Best

Moriba’s curiosity would lead her to major in political science and women’s studies at the University of Western Ontario. But it would be her first job out of college as a trainee news reporter at Radio-Canada in 1990 where she would be introduced to the world of entertainment. “That job ended up changing the direction of my career,” she said. 

Made a Name in News

In 1992, Moriba moved to the United States and took a job as a researcher for ABC newsmagazine Primetime Live. She moved to NBC in 1994 as executive producer for Dateline. Her work at NBC earned multiple Emmy Awards as well as a Peabody Award.  

CNN hired Moriba in 2010 as executive producer for the Original Program Development team, as well as VP of inclusion. While there, she spearheaded CNN’s Emmy-winning In America franchise of documentary specials on issues affecting communities of color.

In 2015, she formed her own production company, Moriba Media, where her first project was a documentary about the life of a teenager diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Until 20 was a personal journey for Moriba, who survived the same sarcoma disease that befell the movie’s protagonist, James Ragan, whom she had met in the hospital. 

“My production company started with that film about a young man who had the same cancer that I had, and that just motivated me to keep going,” she said. “Ultimately, the documentary is about how we measure the value of life.”

She would also produce such documentary series as Sinking Cities and Chasing the Dream for PBS under the Moriba Media banner. 

Don’t look where you’re standing, look at where you’re going.”

Geraldine Moriba

Continuing to stretch her creative talents, Moriba in 2018 pitched a year-long science research fellowship study to Stanford University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation on the merging of computer science and artificial intelligence. “I was in the news and in the field of storytelling and reporting, but I continued to hold a real passion for science and data,” she said. “For my fellowship, I focused on computer science and artificial intelligence and how we as journalists should be using these tools to help us measure not only how many people are reading, but actually measuring our content.” 

Her interest in media and culture extended in 2020 to hosting the Sounds Like Hate podcast, funded by the Southern Poverty Law Center and focused on people who engage in extremism.

In 2021, Moriba joined Allen Media Group-owned theGrio as senior VP of news and entertainment, in charge of content development and brand sponsorships. The next year, she launched theGrio’s streaming network and mobile app, as well as theGrio Black Podcast Network, all featuring content on political, social and entertainment issues affecting Black culture. 

“Geraldine continues to pave the way in delivering high-quality African American-focused content,” Allen Media Group founder/CEO Byron Allen said. 

Amplifying a Culture

“This is my moment to use all the skills and all the knowledge I’ve gathered to this point, to figure out how to apply it to a newsroom and see if I can amplify stories we care most about, just as effectively as possible, to represent our lived experiences,” she said.

Moriba, who has an adult son and daughter, said future projects she has been researching include a novel about a Black woman’s immigrant experiences and a play about an enslaved woman living in Montreal during the 1700s. 

A mentor herself, Moriba said up-and-coming female executives should be open to all opportunities put in front of them.

“Don’t look where you’re standing, look at where you’re going,” she said. “Because if you keep your eyes forward, you’ll be able to identify the obstacles that you have to overcome and create a strategic plan. By doing so, you’ll have the most control over your destiny.” 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.