English Lesson: The Moment Has Arrived for Al Jazeera English, Except in the US

[This is a sidebar article to the May/June 2011 cover story, “Breathing Room: Toward a new Arab media,” which you can read here.] Back in November 2008, I skewered Al Jazeera English’s live coverage of election night in the US in an article for CJR.org. “It was a bit like watching a local college TV station try […]

Breathing Room: Toward a New Arab Media (Columbia Journalism Review Cover Story)

(May/June 2011) Before there was Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even Al Jazeera, there was Hama, Syria. It was 1982 and an anti-government protest was put down with ferocious violence. The Syrian government simply destroyed whole sections of the city, leaving at least ten thousand people dead. But the slaughter went unreported in that closed society. […]

Borderless Journalism in Gaza: BBC, CNN-I, and Al Jazeera English offer nuanced coverage of Gaza war

CAIRO (Jan. 21, 2009) – In television terms, Gaza has been déjà vu all over again. U.S. television has been dominated by talking heads parroting Israel’s talking points, the wide shots of bombs exploding and smoke pillars that have become the white noise of Middle East conflict, and the occasional glimpse of a body bag. Here […]

Boycotting Al Jazeera (PostGlobal)

CAIRO, Egypt (March 26, 2008) – It appears that Israel is taking a page from the George W. Bush book of public diplomacy: attempting to influence coverage by Arab media by boycotting the most influential television station in the Arab world. In the latest news from Jerusalem, it seems the Ehud Olmert government has decided […]

Will Al-Jazeera English Find Its Groove? (CJR.org)

Bad news is often good news for journalists. Last week’s assassination of Lebanese opposition leader Pierre Gemayel may have been exactly that for Al-Jazeera English, the Westernized cousin of the channel the Bush administration loves to hate. It wasn’t so much that AJE triumphed in its coverage of the latest Lebanese crisis — far from […]

Al-Jazeera English: Day One Report Card (Der Speigel)

 Published on Thursday, November 16, 2006 by Der Speigel Call it the Un-CNN. Imagine that the BBC devotes 24 hours to special coverage of Africa and the Middle East and you will get a sense of the first day of broadcasting for al-Jazeera English (AJE), the English-language cousin of the channel the Bush administration loves […]

Al Jazeera’s Chief: “We are not politically-correct” (Turkish Daily News)

Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 Al-Jazeera is neither a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden nor is it in touch with the al Qaeda leader. That�s the claim from the Qatar-based broadcasting group�s top executive as the station � painted as evil incarnate by the Bush administration � launches its English-speaking cousin, al-Jazeera International (AJI). […]

Look Who’s Fair And Balanced (CJR.org)

(Aug. 22, 2006) The summer of 2006 marked an important milestone for Arab media. Israel and Hezbollah were locked in a bitter conflict that would claim the lives of more than 150 Israelis and an estimated 1,000 Lebanese — a third of them children. Each day brought brutal new images of civilian casualties. On American […]

Al-Jazeera International, Not Quite Ready for Takeoff (CJR.org)

CAIRO (April 27, 2006) – Those new monitors they’re installing in Washington briefing rooms will remain dark for a little while longer: Al-Jazeera International (AJI), the English-language cousin to the Bush administration’s Qatar-based nemesis, has once more delayed its launch plans. The channel was originally expected to go live early this year. Then late winter. […]