The Story of O

Essays and features on Oprah Winfrey by Caitlin Flanagan, Brian Stelter, Nancy Franklin, and others.
5 stories

"How did she do it?" Caitlin Flanagan asked in a 2011 essay about Oprah Winfrey. "How did she lift herself up from intense sorrow, abuse, and poverty? Well, as she has been trying to tell everyone who would listen to her for the past 25 years, she had an idea. A belief."

Fortune's Carol Loomis distilled that mantra in a 2002 interview. "To understand what makes Oprah Inc. such a powerhouse business, you must first understand the simple message that makes Oprah the new Queen of Soul," Loomis wrote. "Put simply," says Oprah, "my message is, 'You are responsible for your own life.'"

And Brian Stelter examined her biggest career move—and risk: ending her talk show to start the OWN network. "Ms. Winfrey’s baby will start out taking baby steps," Stelter noted. But Oprah had high hopes for the future. “By 2013," she told him, "we should be cracking.”

From the Web

The Glory of Oprah

Why the “talkinest child” understands women and the power of television better than anyone else.

Dec 2011
From the Web

Owning It

Oprah Winfrey’s new cable channel.

Jan 2011
From the Web

Oprah: Built in Baltimore

She wasn’t always a media titan. Her start in Baltimore was rocky, but it ultimately made her the star she is today.

May 2011
From the Web

The Business of Being Oprah

She talked her way to the top of her own media empire and amassed a $1 billion fortune. Now she’s asking, “What’s next?”

Apr 2002
From the Web

Oprah’s Network Is Her Highest Hurdle

The talk show queen’s move from broadcast to cable is a transformative moment for the television business and the stakes couldn’t be higher.