Omar Fernando Jimenez
November 27, 1993
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northwestern University (BA)|
|Home town||Kennesaw, Georgia, U.S.|
Jimenez was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and raised in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is Afro-Latino; his mother, Jayne Morgan, is African American, and his father, Omar Jimenez, is Colombian. Jimenez has two brothers. When he was in sixth grade, his parents divorced, and he lived with his mother.
Jimenez attended Kennesaw Mountain High School. While playing high school basketball, Jimenez fractured his back and was unable to play for eight months. He attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he majored in broadcast journalism. He played on the men's varsity basketball team from 2011 to 2013 at Northwestern after a successful walk-on tryout. With other journalism and law students, Jimenez worked with the Chicago Innocence Project to investigate wrongful convictions.
Jimenez began his career in journalism as an intern in NBC News' Chicago bureau. For almost four years, Jimenez worked on-air as a multimedia journalist at WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois. He was a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. Jimenez worked at WBAL from July 2015 to June 2017.
Jimenez has worked at CNN since August 7, 2017, first at CNN Newsource in Washington, D.C. He has reported for over 900 CNN affiliate news stations nationwide covering breaking news. He is now based in Chicago as a CNN correspondent.
Early on the morning of May 29, 2020, Jimenez and his three-person news crew were arrested by a group of Minnesota state police officers while reporting live on protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to Jimenez, he was arrested for failing to move back from the position where they were reporting after being ordered to, despite their media credentials being visible and valid, and their agreeing to move where directed.
As he reported live on CNN's New Day program with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, Jimenez was approached by two officers who ordered the team to move. He immediately agreed, asking where they should move to, but officers walked away. Minutes later, as Jimenez continued to report he, along with producer Bill Kirkos, camera operator Leonel Mendez, and a security guard were approached by a group of officers who surrounded and arrested them as they continued to ask where the state police wanted them to move. They were detained at on-scene, then at a local precinct station before being released about an hour and a half later once police had verified they were media. CNN President Jeff Zucker called Minnesota Governor Tim Walz directly to insist on the crew's release. During their conversation, Walz apologized to Zucker for the incident, calling it "unacceptable."
At Northwestern, he won various national and regional student awards for reporting, including the National Mark of Excellence Award for student television reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and a Bronze award from the National College Emmys in the newscast category.
Jimenez began playing music in high school. He enjoys rap and hip-hop, and has released music on SoundCloud under the name OJ Tropicana. His debut EP, Reporting Live, was released in 2017. He worked with producer Daiz and musician Drew Tildon. His artistry is influenced by Childish Gambino. In 2013, he appeared on a "Battle of the Instant Rappers" segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.