Accuracy in Media

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Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian sent a year-end note to employees thanking them for their hard work and telling them that they have created a foundation for success that will be the “envy of the industry:”

It may be a bit presumptuous to write an ‘end of year’ note when we have only been on the air for four months. So consider this an abbreviated but heartfelt version.

To all of you who have worked on the channel for much longer than those four months, and for all who started closer to or even since August 20th, thank you. Your hard work and dedication to excellence has created a foundation for success that will be the envy of the industry. As I watch the year-end wrap up stories I realize that in our short four months we have covered every important breaking story, from our first weeks focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Syria all the way to our expansive, respectful coverage of the death of Mandela. We’ve consistently brought vital issues to the attention of our viewers, and always, always stayed true to our mission of giving voice to the voiceless and telling the under reported stories.

We all look forward to an exciting and busy 2014! We will be launching new shows, new documentary series, and opening new bureaus. We will continue to develop and improve our current programming. We will grow even closer as a team and strive to be the best place to work in media. I know we will succeed in all our efforts because I know the quality of all the people on our team—and I couldn’t ask for a better team to work alongside, every hour of the day and across all our bureaus.

We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our AJMN colleagues, showing our audience, on television and online, the strength of our global resources. And, as we reflect at year’s end, let us all keep our colleagues Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fawzy in our thoughts. Their incarceration highlights the importance, and the inherent dangers, of the fearless journalism we espouse.

May you all enjoy good health and happiness in 2014,


If I were a television news network executive, I might be a little envious at the rapid expansion of Al Jazeera America. It now has more than 800 domestic employees and 12 news bureaus, with more planned, while most news operations are shrinking. But that envy would quickly disappear once I realized that despite all the money that the Qatari government has poured into the network, it hasn’t translated into viewers. Most of the programs are struggling to attract even 10,000 people, meaning that it’s a mere blip on the cable-news ratings radar, and at this point an abject failure.

The question is, how long will the network continue to spend money on a product that virtually no one watches. Is the propaganda potential worth whatever it costs?

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