WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Al Jazeera America Bites the Dust

Jan 26, 2016

Al Jazeera America announced it will shut down its TV operations in a few months. It might try to continue with a digital presence in the U.S.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said James Warren made some good points about the network’s problems in a column on the Poynter Institute website. She said he pointed out Al Jazeera failed to differentiate itself from the competition and it needed more time and financial support to succeed.  He also felt the name scared away audiences and advertisers.

Crighton felt the network also lacked big name journalists it could lean on for credibility. She said television news audiences want a trusted name/face to deliver the news, and Al Jazeera did not provide that.

Panelist Rich Egger said the network was not available on many cable systems, which hurt its ratings.  He imagines a lot of journalists will be losing their jobs, even if the network carries on with a digital-only presence.

Panelist Jonathan Ahl said he’s watched the network on-line and found its journalism to be solid.  He thought the network looked good.  But he said the cable news field is crowded and Al Jazeera should have done a better job of marketing and promotion.