Al Jazeera America
|Al Jazeera America|
|Launched||August 20, 2013|
|Owned by||Al Jazeera Media Network|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to 480i for SDTVs)
|Slogan||"There's More To It"
"Your Global News Leader"
"Change The Way You Look At News"
"Where The News Is The Star"
|Broadcast area||United States|
New York City, New York
|Sister channel(s)||Al Jazeera English
|3910 V / 13200 / 5/6 (HD)|
|DirecTV||Channel 347 (HD/SD)
Channel 1347 (VOD)
|Dish Network||Channel 216 (HD/SD)|
|Comcast||Channel 107 or 125 (SD only)|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 614 (HD)
Channel 114 (SD)
|Time Warner Cable||Channel varies by market (HD) / (SD)|
|Bright House Networks||Channel varies by market (HD) / (SD)|
|In-House (Washington)||Channel 22|
|Available on some cable providers||Check local listings|
|Google Fiber||Channel 106 (HD)|
|CenturyLink||Channel 220 and 3740 (SD only)|
|AT&T U-Verse||Channel 1219 (HD)
Channel 219 (SD)
|Livestation||AJAM Live (Free, 502 kbit/s) (Not available in the United States)|
|Al Jazeera America||Watch Live
(U.S. cable subscribers only; requires login from participating television providers to access stream)
Al Jazeera America (AJAM) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. The channel, which was launched on August 20, 2013, directly competes with CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and in certain markets, RT America. The channel is Al Jazeera's second entry into the U.S. television market, after the launch of beIN Sport in 2012.
The channel is headquartered and run from studios on the first floor of the Manhattan Center in New York City. It also has a total of 12 bureaus located in places such as Washington, D.C., at the channel's D.C. studios at the Newseum and Al Jazeera's D.C. hub, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Dallas, Denver, Miami, and San Francisco (former headquarters of Current TV and current headquarters of online channel AJ+).
The channel is the sister channel of Al Jazeera's international English language news channel Al Jazeera English. Although operated and managed completely separately with America's management based in the United States, the two share United States studios and bureaus such as the D.C. hub and Al Jazeera America runs some of Al Jazeera English's programming and many of its live newscasts alongside its own.
As of February 2015, 61,513,000 homes (52.8% of households with television) receive Al Jazeera America.
- 1 Development
- 2 Content and programs
- 3 News staff
- 4 Programming
- 5 Notable staff
- 5.1 Management
- 5.2 On-air staff
- 5.3 Correspondents
- 5.4 International correspondents (Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Balkans)
- 5.5 Al Jazeera Investigative Unit
- 6 Awards
- 7 Availability
- 8 Incidents
- 9 Controversies
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The creation of Al Jazeera America was announced on January 2, 2013, along with the announcement that the network had purchased the user generated content channel turned progressive-oriented cable television channel Current TV, which had long been struggling in the ratings and after two format changes had announced in October 2012 that it was considering a sale of the channel. It was reported that Al Jazeera planned on shutting down Current TV, keeping its production staff and possibly some programs, and using the company's distribution network to broadcast Al Jazeera America. Current TV, by coincidence, was formerly Newsworld International, an international news channel similar to Al Jazeera America run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
On July 22, 2013, Al Jazeera America named former ABC News Vice President Kate O'Brian as president of the network, and Ehab Al Shihabi as interim CEO in charge of business affairs. In addition, former CNN veteran David Doss was named Vice President of News Programming and former CBS News executive Marcy McGinnis was named Vice President of News Gathering. Former MSNBC executive Shannon High-Bassalik was named Senior Vice President of Documentaries and Programs.
Al Jazeera said it received more than 21,000 job applications for 400 positions at its U.S. network. Approximately 200 Current TV employees, including some 50 in editorial, were absorbed by the new operation. It planned to have a total of 800 employees at the channel's launch. Al Jazeera America also announced that the channel would employ well-known veteran journalists, anchors, and producers.
On July 3, 2013, Ali Velshi confirmed that Al Jazeera America's launch would take place on August 20, 2013. The launch took place at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on that date, with an hour-long preview special entitled This is Al Jazeera. News coverage began immediately afterward at 4:00 p.m. Al Jazeera America's website launched on August 8, 2013.
Content and programs
Originally 60% of the channel's programming would be produced in America, while an additional 40% would come from Al Jazeera English. That has since changed to almost all of the channel's program content being originated from the United States. In an interview with The New York Times, head of international operations Ehab Al Shihabi said Al Jazeera America's content on "most days will primarily be domestic news. But Al Jazeera’s seventy bureaus around the world will mean that we will have an unparalleled ability to report on important global stories that Americans are not seeing elsewhere. We will do that when it is warranted". Al Shihabi said that the channel would feature less political discussion and celebrity news, and that newsgathering will take priority over maximizing profits (the network will air only six minutes of commercials per hour, a rate far fewer than competing networks). Its three-hour morning program will have a different format focusing on hard news and not "a group of anchors chatting on a couch".
Al Jazeera America airs live programming at all hours, including half-hour news bulletins at 2 or 3 a.m., while other cable news channels run rebroadcasts of the previous evening's primetime programs. A three-hour morning show, talk shows and taped documentaries are also planned. Three Al Jazeera English programs that are based in Washington, The Stream, Inside Story and Fault Lines were included on the launch schedule, as well as The Frost Interview and Listening Post. The flagship nighttime show is called America Tonight. It is a weeknight news magazine that presents the day’s news in Al Jazeera's long-form style with "stories that are not covered elsewhere".
Al Jazeera America's original senior executive producer for news and special projects was Bob Wheelock, a former senior producer for ABC and NBC News. Wheelock left the network shortly after the launch to head up a political campaign in Delaware.
CNN chief business correspondent and the anchor of Your Money, Ali Velshi was the first major name to join Al Jazeera America. He hosts a daily, half-hour show originally called Real Money with Ali Velshi,(now called Ali Velshi on Target). The show was originally going to be once a week until the end of 2013 before becoming a daily show but launched as a daily show.
The channel has a 16-person investigative unit and hired veteran National Headline Award-winning journalist Edward Pound (formerly of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and the National Journal) to lead its investigation division. Josh Bernstein of Denver Fox affiliate KDVR was hired as the lead investigative reporter, along with Trevor Aaronson, an award-winning author and investigative journalist and the former co-founder and associate director of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting who will serve as the networks investigative digital reporter based in Washington, D.C. It later hired Andrea Stone, most recently of The Huffington Post, and Tony Karon, most recently of TIME Magazine, to manage both U.S. and global coverage for the channel's website and other digital platforms. The two will determine the overall editorial direction for the site and both will be based in New York City.
The channel also hired Kim Bondy, a former executive producer with CNN to produce its flagship news program America Tonight, a newsmagazine program that is hosted by original CNN International anchor and former CBS News correspondent Joie Chen, produced from Al Jazeera America's Newseum studio in Washington, D.C., and featuring correspondents Adam May, Lori Jane Gliha, former CBS, ABC and CBC news correspondent Sheila MacVicar and former Current TV correspondent Christof Putzel. The program presents in-depth segments each night on the economy, government, education, healthcare and the environment, and include breaking news stories. The program also features work by the Al Jazeera America investigative unit and covers stories in depth from across America, revealing new insights on the news of the day and breaking stories with its own original reporting. America Tonight also incorporates social media interaction on screen and off to reflect the views of its American audience. On July 1, 2013, longtime CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien was hired to be a special correspondent for America Tonight, as well as a deal with her production company Starfish Media Group to produce long-form documentaries for Al Jazeera America.
An American version of the popular Al Jazeera English program The Stream was originally also featured on the channel. Produced from Al Jazeera's Washington, D.C. hub, and hosted by veteran journalist and former ABC News correspondent Lisa Fletcher. The show formatted to allow viewers to interact with Fletcher and her guests during the program via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Hangouts and Skype. The show's social media team and second screen technology enable viewers to engage 24 hours a day with new content, comments, user-generated videos and a variety of posts. The Stream relies heavily on a variety of online resources and social media tools to connect with people across the United States and around the world. This includes "Storify", which allows the aggregation of additional information, links, and photos about show topics on the website; "Video Genie", which enables viewers to leave video questions for the show 24-7; and Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Reddit. It also hosted Google+ Hangouts and uses Skype rather than satellite feeds for nearly all guest interviews. Less hard-news orientated than Al Jazeera America's other shows, guests included everyone from civil rights group leaders to Kathy Griffin.
On July 21, 2013, the network hired former Fox News, MSNBC, and Current TV veteran David Shuster to host a show during "the evening hours". Shuster is currently an analyst on the midday and evening news on the channel as well as a fill in host.
On July 26, 2013, the network announced that former Good Morning America host and award-winning journalist Antonio Mora would host a current events talk show called Consider This, a program which showcased "hard-hitting interviews and panel discussions on issues important to American viewers". Consider This also featured interactive segments where the audience will join the conversation via social media. The first episode of the show highlighted the hunger strike and court-approved force-feeding in California's prison system. Mora now anchors the late news. The show was replaced by a similar program Third Rail.
The channel announced plans to produce and acquire documentaries. Kathy Davidov and Cynthia Kane were hired as the senior executive producer and senior producer for its in-house documentary film unit. Davodov comes from the National Geographic Channel, where she produced shows such as Border Wars and the Explorer special. Kane came from ITVS, where she managed over 150 projects and worked with the Sundance Channel.
On April 13, 2014 the channel began showing Borderland, a documentary series on illegal immigration which follows six Americans as they retrace the fatal journey of three undocumented migrants who died attempting to cross into the United States. Borderland was the first Documentary series for the channel. A second one called The System focused on the U.S. prison system.
Al Jazeera America's news anchors include Randall Pinkston formerly of CBS News, John Seigenthaler, formerly of NBC News and WSMV in Nashville, Antonio Mora, formerly of ABC, Richelle Carey, formerly of CNN and HLN, Jonathan Betz, formerly of WFAA in Dallas and WWL-TV in New Orleans, Tony Harris formerly of sister station Al Jazeera English and CNN and Stephanie Sy.
In addition to those listed below, Al Jazeera America like its international sister channel runs various programs that are either entirely non-recurrent or consist of just a limited number of parts (miniseries format known as special series).
Produced by Al Jazeera America
- Ali Velshi on Target (formerly Real Money with Ali Velshi) – A show hosted by Ali Velshi from New York City that focuses on current affairs which provides context and analysis around current political and economic issues along with interviews.
- Inside Story – Hosted by Ray Suarez from Washington D.C. Show provides analysis, background and context on the top stories of the day. Each episode features a panel of expert guests who examine and debate domestic and international topics ripped from the headlines.
- America Tonight - Al Jazeera America’s flagship show, Hosted by Joie Chen from the Newseum in Washington D.C., a 30-minute-long news and current affairs magazine. Segments feature in-depth reports on subjects such as the economy, government, education, healthcare, and the environment, as well as breaking news featuring correspondents from across the country.
- Your World This Morning – Hosted by Stephanie Sy, Del Walters, and Nicole Mitchell (Weather) from New York City, Morning block of national and international news.
- News – Domestic and international News from New York City, hosted by various anchors including Tony Harris, Antonio Mora and John Seigenthaler.
- Talk To Al Jazeera - Interview program with prominent world figures by various anchors and journalists.
- Fault Lines – Hosted by Josh Rushing, Zeina Awad, and Sebastian Walker, A show that takes viewers behind a particular story and reports on it in-depth using in-depth interviews and investigative reporting.
- TechKnow - Hosted by Phil Torres and others from Los Angeles, a Fast-paced, 30-minute show that explores and exposes how the latest scientific discoveries are changing our lives.
- Compass With Sheila Macvicar - Hosted by Sheila MacVicar, program focuses on foreign policy issues.
- Third Rail - Hosted by Ali Velshi (formerly Imran Garda), weekly current affairs program tackling controversial issues and probe perspectives with moderated debate, three-person panels and reports from Al Jazeera correspondents around the world.
- Al Jazeera America Presents – Documentary and investigative series focused on a specific topic such as Borderland and The System.
Produced by Al Jazeera English
- News from Al Jazeera English:
- Listening Post – Hosted by Richard Gizbert from London, Current affairs program that critiques journalism and the media industry around the world.
- 101 East — the weekly documentary series for issues of particular importance in Asia. Presenters or hosts have included Teymoor Nabili and Fauziah Ibrahim
- People & Power — a biweekly programme, originally hosted by Dr. Shereen El Feki.
- Witness — the daily documentary-slot for films by the best of the world's independent film-makers. The strand aims to shine a light on the events and people long-forgotten by the global media and on those which never merited a mention in the first place.
- Al Jazeera Investigates — documentaries arising from the work of the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit.
Also airing at various times are the Al Jazeera English programs Earthrise, Al Jazeera World and Al Jazeera Correspondent along with shows brought in from other channels in the UK and Australia.
- Consider This – Weeknight current affairs talk show with Antonio Mora from New York City. Show features interviews with prominent newsmakers, panel discussions that provide insight through varied perspectives and involvement of the show’s audience using social media.
- Power Politics – Hosted by David Shuster from New York City, a political analysis show featuring in-depth looks into issues topping the poles (produced during U.S. election seasons).
- The Stream (American Version) – Hosted by Lisa Fletcher and Wajahat Ali from Washington, D.C., Current events discussion and debate show formatted to allow viewers to interact with the hosts and guests during the program via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Hangouts and Skype.
- The Frost Interview (previously Frost Over The World) was hosted by David Frost. Frost died in 2013, and show still aired posthumously with the family's consent.
- Kate O'Brian – President of Al Jazeera America
A complete list of hosts and correspondents is located in the box at the bottom.
Anchors and hosts
- Jonathan Betz - anchor/reporter
- Richelle Carey - anchor/reporter
- Joie Chen - host of America Tonight
- Tony Harris - anchor of Early Evening News
- Sheila MacVicar - Host of Compass with Sheila MacVicar and America Tonight correspondent
- Nicole Mitchell - meteorologist
- Antonio Mora - anchor of International Newshour
- Randall Pinkston - anchor/reporter
- Cara Santa Maria - host of TechKnow
- John Seigenthaler - host of Nightly News
- David Shuster - anchor/reporter, and host of Power Politics
- John Henry Smith - anchor/reporter
- Ray Suarez - host of Inside Story
- Stephanie Sy - anchor
- Phil Torres - host of TechKnow
- Ali Velshi - host of On Target and Third Rail
- Chris Bury - reporter and America Tonight correspondent
- Melissa Chan - San Francisco correspondent
- Lisa Fletcher - Correspondent and fill-in host
- Jami Floyd - contributor/legal contributor
- Lori Jane Gliha - America Tonight correspondent
- Sheila MacVicar - America Tonight correspondent
- Adam May - America Tonight correspondent
- Soledad O'Brien - special correspondent
- Christof Putzel - America Tonight correspondent
- Ash-har Quraishi - Chicago bureau reporter
- Josh Rushing - Faultlines host/reporter
- Roxana Saberi - correspondent
- William Schneider - political analyst and contributor
- Michael Shure - contributor/political contributor
- Mike Viqueira - White House correspondent
- Sebastian Walker - correspondent
- Jacob Ward - Science and Technology correspondent
International correspondents (Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Balkans)
Al Jazeera America shares International correspondents and resources primarily with Al Jazeera English, the international English language sister channel which along with other AJMN channels has correspondents and bureau locations in the following places:
Middle East and the Maghreb
Americas (outside of United States)
North East Asia
Al Jazeera Investigative Unit
Formed in 2010, in its own words: "the role of Al Jazeera Investigations is not to report the news, but to make the news".
The Unit, also known as "the Investigations Team" or, simply, "Al Jazeera Investigations" is headquartered at the Network headquarters in Doha, but also has representation in London, Washington, DC and San Francisco, the last two the base of the Al Jazeera America branch. The unit is a Al Jazeera Media Network asset and its reports will appear equally on the other channels, tailored appropriately for the relevant language and audience.
The Unit's investigations resulted, amongst others, in the documentary What Killed Arafat? This film won a CINE Golden Eagle Award. In 2013, the Arafat findings were indeed reported as a news–item on other networks. The documentaries are often presented under their own strand, as: Al Jazeera Investigates.
The original Unit chief was Ahmad Ibrahim, but the current Manager of Investigative Journalism for the Al Jazeera Media Network is Clayton Swisher. Other leading figures include: Ed Pound, Karen Wightman, Trevor Aaronson, Frank Bass, Josh Bernstein, Simon Boazman, Will Jordan, Phil Rees, Ken Silverstein. At its launch, the unit had three separate teams.
In 2014 Al Jazeera America and producer Reed Lindsay won a Gracie Award in the “Outstanding Hard News Feature” category from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for the story “Fists of Fury,” which aired on America Tonight. The award was the first award ever for the channel.
In April 2015, Al Jazeera America won 16 National Headliner Awards including 7 first place wins in various categories including "Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators environmental reporting" where It held all three top nomination spots with the Fault Lines episode “Water for Coal” winning overall, "Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators investigative report" and "Best of TV" where the Fault Lines episode "Deadly Force" won, "Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators documentary or series of reports" where the documentary "Killing the Messenger" won, "Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators coverage of a major news event" where they also held the top three places with their coverage of The Downing of MH14 winnng, "Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators newscast" where their coverage of the Crisis in Yemen and ISIL on the Turkish Border won and "online slideshow" for its digital team.
The channel is currently available in at least 55 million American households with pay television service. In contrast, Al Jazeera English, which launched in 2006 and, until 2013, the network's only English-language channel, was available in only a few U.S. cities and reached 4.7 million households, though it was live streamed online for free until the launch of Al Jazeera America. Al Jazeera America's programs are not streamed live online in the United States due to contractual stipulations with cable and satellite providers. However, it is being progressively added as a streaming service on the various TV Everywhere platforms of the service providers that the channel is available on as new deals are reached such as Time Warner's. Al Jazeera America replaced Current TV on Comcast, Dish Network, Verizon and DirecTV. The channel is also available on Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks after a contract agreement was reached between Al Jazeera and the carriers on October 24, 2013. Time Warner Cable, which carried Current TV in nine million households, originally dropped the channel because it did not consent to its sale to Al Jazeera.
Time Warner Cable carried Al Jazeera English in the New York City market because of a time lease agreement by that network on a subchannel of WRNN-TV until Al Jazeera English was withdrawn from US distribution. Al Jazeera America is also available on CenturyLink systems and some smaller cable systems. AT&T U-verse did not carry Al Jazeera America at launch, stating that it was due a contract dispute as the reason. Al Jazeera responded with a lawsuit against AT&T for an alleged breach of contract. On June 10, 2014, AT&T and Al Jazeera settled the lawsuit out of court. Al Jazeera America was added to AT&T U-Verse on June 27, 2014. In October 2013, Al Jazeera America was added to Google Fiber's line up of channels. The channel currently allows live streaming through TV provider authentication.
High Definition carriage
Because Current TV (the channel Al Jazeera America replaced) operated on a standard definition feed, it is transmitted from some cable providers that previously carried Current TV in standard definition only, even though the channel produces its programming in high definition due to Al Jazeera America still being under Current's carriage deals on those providers. Google Fiber, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable were the first providers in the United States that broadcast Al Jazeera America in high definition due to those being new deals.
On May 14, 2014, Verizon FiOS added high-definition carriage on its service. On June 27, 2014, AT&T U-Verse added the channel with DirecTV adding it in HD on November 2, 2015. Dish Network added the channel in HD on November 4, 2015 thus putting the channel in HD on both major U.S. satellite providers.
While covering the Ferguson protests in 2014, officers from the Ferguson Police Department shot rubber bullets and tear gas at an AJAM news crew including correspondent Ash-har Quraishi, who after yelling, "We're the press" caused them to abandon their recording equipment and run to safety. The incident was caught on camera by KSDK-TV, a local NBC affiliate who was filming from across the street. An officer was captured on video turning the reporters' video camera toward the ground and dismantling their equipment. Other incidents, including the arrests of two print journalists for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, also occurred during the same time period.
On April 28, 2015, Matthew Luke, Al Jazeera America's former Supervisor of Media and Archive Management, filed a US$15 million lawsuit against his former employers over unfair dismissal. Luke alleged that he had been unfairly dismissed by the network after he had raised concerns with the human resource division that his boss, Osman Mahmud, the Senior Vice-President of Broadcast Operations and Technology, discriminated against female employees and made anti-Semitic remarks. In response, Ehab Al Shihabi, the head of Al Jazeera America, has announced that the network will contest the lawsuit in court. Mahmud has also denied Luke's charges and has alleged that Luke was a difficult employee. In an unrelated development, two female Al Jazeera America employees—Diana Lee, the Executive Vice-President for Human Resources, and Dawn Bridges, the Executive Vice President for Communications, had resigned that week.
On 4 May 2015, Marcy McGinnis, a senior Al Jazeera America's executive and former CBS news anchor, resigned from the company for undisclosed reasons amidst internal dissension with AJAM's management. On 5 May 2015, Al Jazeera Media Network demoted Al Shihabi to Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Al Jazeera America. He was demoted from CEO after a report from the New York Times of an altercation between him and host Ali Velshi where he attempted to fire and sue the channel's top host. He was replaced by Al Anstey, the former managing director of Al Jazeera English. On 11 June 2015, Shannon High-Bassalik, AJAM's former senior vice president of programming and documentaries, filed a multi-million lawsuit against the channel; alleging a biased pro-Arab coverage and the mistreatment of employees. AJAM has responded that they would contest the lawsuit in court.
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- Casey Nolen, KSDK (14 August 2014). "TV crews hit by bean bags, tear gas". KSDK. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Matthew Luke versus Al Jazeera America and Osman Mahmud (PDF) (Report). Deadline.com. NYSCEF Doc. No. 2. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Brian Flood (April 28, 2015). "Fired Al Jazeera America Employee Seeks $15 Million in Lawsuit". TVNewser. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Brian Flood (April 29, 2015). "Former Al Jazeera America employee claims he was fired after complaining about sexism, anti-Semitism". nydailynews.com. New York Daily News. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Kludt, Tom (30 April 2015). "Al Jazeera America exec tells staff that he will fight lawsuit". CNN Money. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Steinberg, Brian (4 May 2015). "Marcy McGinnis, Senior Al Jazeera America Executive, Leaves Network". Variety.com. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Hadas Gold. "Al Jazeera America appoints new CEO". POLITICO. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Bond, Shannon (8 May 2015). "Al Jazeera America: Qatar’s ambitions struggle on US screens". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Al Jazeera America abandoned 'journalistic objectivity,' new suit claims". CNNMoney. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Official website
.com: Story of building AJAM's studios and infrastructure in record time