The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons has obtained an internal memo from Al Jazeera English announcing that they are scaling back their operations in Washington, D.C.:
Today in our Washington DC office we are completing the “next frontier” project to restructure our broadcast model for News contribution from America.
From April 15th, we will no longer be opting-in with presentation from the DC Centre into news bulletins. Instead we will be taking more live contribution from the field from stories we are covering across the USA. We will continue to produce Inside Story from DC five days a week.
In addition to the changes in News output, in Programmes we are also moving Empire to New York later this year. Though Empire does broadcast from locations which are specific to the subject of the show, New York is a natural base given its global make up and its global influence.
This change is part of the wider restructure which began over two years ago in order to enhance one of our core strengths of news gathering and reporting from the field. We recently started up our bureau in Chicago. We are soon to formally open our office in Los Angeles. And we are now fully operational from Miami. These bureaux add to our existing presence and strength in Washington DC, and New York, and our bureaux across Latin America. Our commitment to coverage of the Americas remains as strong as ever. With the US and Mexican elections this year, and with all the other stories from the United States and global stories which relate to the USA it is very important we continue to improve and enhance our coverage from the region.
AL ANSTEY | MANAGING DIRECTOR
AL JAZEERA ENGLISH
While opening up bureaus in Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami would normally be considered a good sign, the reduction in the DC bureau is puzzling since Al Jazeera has managed to snag several high-profile interviews as a result of its presence in the nation’s capital.
But considering that the network is still struggling to get widespread carriage on U.S. cable systems, the pullback may mean that this isn’t their primary goal moving forward. After all how do they sell themselves to cable systems with a stripped down DC bureau?
The decision appears to have been made very recently, not as part of a long-term plan, since Clemons notes that Al Jazeera just signed a deal to move into a new building in DC.
I guess their current office will now have plenty of room.