Real name Tabitha Sorenberger, born 1967
. An attractive redhead
who joined the MTV News
team beginning in 1992
, Soren was part of the network's push to legitimize its news programming.
She anchored "The Week in Rock" with Kurt Loder, ex of Rolling Stone, but she also handled political coverage, particularly of the 1992 and 1996 U.S. presidential elections. Under the banner "Choose or Lose," Soren followed the campaigns around the country and lined up serious interviews with the candidates. She also did documentaries on social issues such as pornography and teenage mothers.
Despite a deadpan, professional delivery, Soren looked and sounded young on camera, which is probably why so many people never took her seriously (myself included). Being on MTV didn't help either; it's gotta be tough to sound like Walter Cronkite when you have to say "Choose or Lose" or talk about Blind Melon. Her intelligence came under question too -- I didn't see her appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy, but I'm told she got creamed.
But Soren has bona fide journalist's credentials. She graduating cum laude from New York University and interned at CNN at a time when the understaffed network let interns do production and editing, and she got on-camera reporting experience with an ABC affiliate in Burlington, Vermont. She also did work with NBC's Today Show during her early time with MTV. And "Choose or Lose" won her a Peabody Award in 1992. I hate to make excuses for a TV reporter (often in TV news, producers do all the real work), but Soren has a lot more experience than people give her credit for.
Soren left MTV sometime around 1998 and spent a year as a guest instructor with the UC Berkeley journalism program. She married writer Michael Lewis and moved to Paris in late 1999, with their dog and their infant daughter. She had continued doing TV work and some writing gigs up until 2000; unsure if she's continued that.
OK, so maybe her contributions didn't resonate beyond MTV's small world, but consider this. MTV at the time was among the most sexist, chauvinistic, exploitative networks on television, and Soren brought to it an intelligent female role model shouldering a position of responsibility and initiative. That's got to count for something.
-- George Mason U. "Women Creating Media" project: http://www.gmu.edu/departments/comm/women/broadcast/soren.html
-- Vault.com: http://www.vault.com/multimedia/celebinterns.jsp?media=3
-- Plastic: http://www.plastic.com/altculture
See also Tabitha's 1996 interview with President Bill Clinton: http://washington-weekly.com/sep09-96/MTV