Friday, August 23, 2013

Aljazeera Whaaat?

I can't wait to see what the " new voice" of news in America has to say. We watched our first segment of Aljazeera America last night and I must say I was impressed.  Ever since the school massacre in Newtown, there have been very few investigative stories that focus on the proliferation of gun violence in our country.  Aljazeera apparently owes no debt to the NRA and is not afraid to shine a light on the number of shootings taking place in Chicago.  The first segment was last night, and the second is tonight.  The veteran newswoman, Joie Chan, is excellent, as is every other journalist I have seen on this network.  One of my favorites is Ali Velchi who I have previously watched on anorher network.

Here are the names of the editorial team for Aljazeera.  Relax, none of them are named Mohammed!

The editorial team will be led by Kate O'Brian, a 30-year ABC News veteran who will take over as president of the network.

She will be joined by David Doss and Shannon High-Bassalik, who will join from CNN as senior vice-presidents, and Marcy McGinnis, a former journalism associate dean who worked at CBS News.

Ehab al-Shihabi will serve as interim chief executive officer of the network, according to an announcement made by Al Jazeera's acting director-general, Mostefa Souag.

Five Questions with Kate O'Brian, Al Jazeera America's newly
appointed president:

 Why Al Jazeera? 
This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to create a news product that I think is sorely missing in the American media landscape right now. There is a great history of quality journalism at Al Jazeera, and I am looking forward to bringing all that to Al Jazeera America. 

O'Brian, a former senior vice-president at ABC News who began her career there as an intern, will be based at the network's headquarters in New York City, and "will have full responsibility for defining and implementing the editorial strategy and operations across the network, including news, documentary and all other programming", according to the statement.

In an interview, O'Brian told Al Jazeera English, AJAM's sister network, that there was "a gap" in the US news media landscape that her channel would be seeking to fill.

"Coming into the American news landscape, the opportunity to innovate is something Al Jazeera can bring into the equation. We can start from scratch, producing in-depth, quality content for the viewers who are looking for something different. It will be a new product, not incremental tweaks in existing news formats," she said.

Al-Shihabi said at the end of June that Al Jazeera had hired 650 employees and planned to air 8 minutes of commercials per hour, which is below the industry standard of about 15 minutes.

Interestingly, the channel that the network purchased, Current TV, was sold to Aljazeera by none other than that great American, Al Gore.
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