My “go to station” for all news related to Islam and the Middle East is closing down.
Say what you will about “bias”, their editorial position was clear and it gave a clear eyed view of “facts on the ground” with lots of live coverage with cameras and reporters in the middle of things when something happened. Their perspective and their live reports in the thick of things will be sorely missed.
Yes, any news about Israel was couched in those particularly Islamic code words for “evil bastards” and they couldn’t even bring themselves to say Israel much of the time (the ‘inside term’ being ‘Occupied Palestine’). Yes, they were pro-Arab and pro-Muslim. Who would expect otherwise? But that POV was valuable to me and gave a great contrast to the pap and nonsense ridden US commercial news. Even with that, they typically reported the news “straight”. You could pick out “just the facts” pretty clearly. Unlike other sources (BBC, MSNBC, etc. etc.) that give a load of emotion laden “perspective” and don’t bother to include the facts… Their camera staff could often go where no others were welcome, and their live coverage of “action” in hot-spots in the Middle East was stellar.
For example, in the recent coverage of the explosions in Jakarta, they covered that a few hundred had been arrested for being radicals some time back and that this ‘event’ was linked to a desire to free the leader of that group and / or as retribution for the arrests. Things not covered on the other channels. ( I’ve forgotten the exact names of the groups and leaders, but they were given, had I cared to take them down.) That there was an official ‘crack down’ on radical islam in Indonesia, that there had been hundreds arrested, that this was “islam on Islam” violence; all that was the special perspective they brought. Our news? Focus was on the potential for a couple of non-Indonesians to be hurt in the process. Missing the whole point.
Al Jazeera America to close down
Unsustainable business model cited in decision to close as global network announces a new digital drive in US market
January 13, 2016 2:11PM ET
by Al Jazeera Staff
Al Jazeera America will shutter its cable TV and digital operations by April 30 of this year, the company announced Wednesday. The decision by the AJAM board was “driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace,” said AJAM CEO Al Anstey.
“I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,” Anstey wrote in an email addressed to all the company’s employees. The decision was no reflection on the work of that staff, he said. “Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled. We have increasingly set ourselves apart from all the rest. And you are the most talented team any organization could wish for.”
The announcement of AJAM’s closure coincides with a decision by its global parent company to commit to a significant expansion of its worldwide digital operations into the U.S. market.
“As audiences increasingly turn to multiple platforms, including mobile devices, for news and information, this expansion will allow U.S. and non-U.S. consumers alike to access the network’s journalism and content wherever and whenever they want,” the Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement. “By expanding its digital content and distribution services to now include the U.S., the network will be better positioned to innovate and compete in an overwhelmingly digital world to serve today’s 24-hour digitally focused audience.”
Anstey praised the Al Jazeera America staff as “a brilliant team made up of the most committed, professional and dedicated people … In the months to come, we will do everything that we can to support you, to work with you and to ensure you are shown the respect you deserve.”
My only complaint was their run to embrace the Global Warming Mythology and their bringing forward several old tired voices (and faces) from the Left Wing of USA broadcasting (and PBS left-overs). Had they realized that the bulk of America is NOT watching MSNBC, but instead keeps having FOX news ranked first in the ratings, they could have done much better. Just sticking with the basically conservative POV of Islam instead of running to embrace Loony Lefty POV stories. IMHO, that, more than any Islamic bias, is what lead to their demise.
With luck, they will adopt something of a Netflix model, and continue to stream their live news coverage to the world ( we can live without the nanny-nag left wing “perspective” shows… and the Global Warming crap…)
As for me, I’m not sure where I’m going to turn to get the ‘counterpoint’ to FOX and CNN and the BBC on all things middle eastern and Islamic. Perhaps their online presence will remain.
Despite its initial struggle for TV ratings, the newcomer network was quickly and repeatedly recognized by its industry peers for the excellence of its journalism. Within months of launching, AJAM began collecting prestigious prizes — from Peabody, Emmy, Gracie, Eppy and DuPont awards to a Shorty Award, for best Twitter newsfeed, and Newswomen’s Club of New York’s Front Page awards and citations from groups such as the National Association of Black Journalists and the Native American Journalism.
Anstey said AJAM made slow but steady progress in recent months in growing its audience. “Our editorial excellence was demonstrated time and time again on the major stories of recent months,” he wrote. “And we continue to win praise from our colleagues in the industry and from our viewers for the quality of our output.
He vowed that AJAM would maintain its standards of excellence until it goes dark.
“Between now and April, we will continue to show America why AJAM has won respect and the fierce loyalty of so many of our viewers,” Anstey wrote. “Through your remarkable work at AJAM, we have shown that there is a different way of reporting news and providing information. The foundation of this is integrity, great journalism, impartiality and a commitment to the highest quality story telling. This will be our lasting impact, and as we produce and showcase the best of our work in the weeks to come, this will be clear for everyone to see.”
I agree with that evaluation of things, FWIW.
Still asks you to pick your TV Service Provider. Perhaps they can keep the news feed running there, minus the “Service Provider” hook that keeps a very large potential audience out…
Here is the parent Al Jazeera live on the net feed:
Farewell to those at Al Jazeera America. You were and are appreciated. Best of luck. Even those who gave a POV with which I did not agree did it well and professionally, and you, too, will be missed. I may not have agreed, but you made me think about my position and ask questions of myself. Always a beneficial thing. Those “on the ground” doing nearly instant live coverage of world events, IMHO, beat the pants of the other choices. Almost always “first up” and then with more depth, more facts, more cameras live on the ground. And yes, sometimes dodging more bricks and bullets; occasionally from both sides. Stay well my friends, I look forward to your future “ride”, when you find a place to land, and more display of skill, courage, and clarity.