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Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Al-Jazeera English looks to fill niche

February 20, 2008

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Journalism students learn different perspective on storytelling

A group of KU journalism students get an introduction to a different perspective on storytelling. Enlarge video

Will Stebbins, bureau chief for the Americas for Al-Jazeera English, from left, visits with Malcolm Gibson, KU journalism professor and general manager of the University Daily Kansan, and Huma Khan, a graduate student in international Studies,Tuesday at KU's Alderson Auditorium.

Will Stebbins, bureau chief for the Americas for Al-Jazeera English, from left, visits with Malcolm Gibson, KU journalism professor and general manager of the University Daily Kansan, and Huma Khan, a graduate student in international Studies,Tuesday at KU's Alderson Auditorium.

From a base in the Middle East, Al-Jazeera English is shaking up journalism in the western world and across the globe, the network's bureau chief for the Americas said.

Will Stebbins, who oversees operations on three continents - North and South America and Antarctica - from offices in Washington, D.C., told a crowd of Kansas University journalism students that since launching in November 2006, Al-Jazeera English has restored some of the dignity to the media in the United States.

"The creation of Al-Jazeera English is really a major milestone in journalism," KU journalism professor Malcolm Gibson said. "This is the first time there's been a non-Western voice in English-language journalism."

Gibson organized Stebbins' trip to KU for his international journalism class, as well as other classes at KU.

Stebbins said traditional media was failing to provide international coverage when it was needed most, and Al-Jazeera was endeavoring to fill that niche, as well as to tell the stories of populations that have been marginalized.

"This is a critical moment for U.S. citizens to be informed about the effect of U.S. policy overseas," he said.

Al-Jazeera English is an offshoot of the Arabic language network of the same name that has provided deep coverage of the Middle East and the world, especially the civilian impact of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stebbins said the English-language network was trying to use the spirit its parent network has developed to deliver news to the 1 billion English speakers globally.

"What Al-Jazeera did was establish the first platform for the free exchange of ideas in the Middle East," Stebbins said. "Al-Jazeera has challenged the monopoly Western journalists had in writing the first draft of history."

The network broadcasts from its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, and bureaus in London, Washington, D.C., and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As one of its goals, Stebbins said, the English-speaking network tries to represent the complexity of the United States to the rest of the world, while also bringing an understanding of the rest of the world to the United States.

That second message, however, is hampered by the network's near-total absence from local cable systems. Only Buckeye Cable in Ohio and the municipal cable system in Burlington, Vt., carry the network, though Stebbins said 80 percent of the 500,000 weekly hits on the network's English-language Web site come from North America.

Comments

posessionannex 6 years, 1 month ago

I must admit, though, that the English-language version of Al-Jazeera is not as "radical" as the Arabic-language version

Here's a story you won't see on the American version:

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1691.htm

"Their only way to defend themselves is for one of them to turn himself into a human bomb. This is divine justice."

--Mainstream, moderate cleric Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradawi

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toefungus 6 years, 1 month ago

Women will be tortured if caught reading. In fact, they should not be able to read.

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frankfussman 6 years, 2 months ago

I am living and teaching English (EFL) here in Oman in the Middle East and I get to watch Al-Jeerza almost every day and it is very high-quality, sometimes even better than the BBC World Service TV. The graphics, the reporters, the broadcasting sets, the station break music, the news and features...everything about Al-Jeezeera is the best. I am really sorry it is not available everywhere in the US. ...I must admit, though, that the English-language version of Al-Jazeera is not as "radical" as the Arabic-language version, which I also sometimes see...although I don't understand Arabic, I can see that the "slant" on the news is more "strident." However, overall, Al-Jazeera deserves a place in the US television spectrum .

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Ken Miller 6 years, 2 months ago

I would expect someone with the moniker "right_thinker" to defend his beloved Fox News Channel. Preaching to the choir. People who have narrow-minded opinions are loathe to listen to anyone or anything that could potentially espouse different views. Watching/surfing Al-Jazeera in tandem with the BBC, CNN and yes, even FOX, would be the closest to getting an objective view of the news.

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 2 months ago

"If you want to have the same horse hockey flung at you every day, watch Fox News."- O'Oscar Factor (Spin Zone)

Yeah, dumb, rural, narrow-minded, bigoted folk watch that stupid dumb horse poo-poo Fox News Channel. What's this country coming to......sheesh!

CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS are the best for fair and balanced left-wing propaganda.

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Ken Miller 6 years, 2 months ago

More than Fox, and more than you. Yes.

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acoupstick 6 years, 2 months ago

So what you're saying is AJ is actually fair and balanced.

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Ken Miller 6 years, 2 months ago

Preebo is exactly right. Al Jazeera is a very valuable source for news about our "enemies" and carries a lot less crap than any of our local and most of our national news sources (I have yet to see a story about Britney on Al Jazeera). Dave Marash, a well-respected NY journalist, was at one time (maybe still?) involved with the broadcast side.

It's called variety, people. If you want to have the same horse hockey flung at you every day, watch Fox News.

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TheRealDecider 6 years, 2 months ago

I always thought Malcolm Gibson was cool as sh*t.

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Mr_Values 6 years, 2 months ago

Al Jazeera's American publication is a local award winning publication.....Just kidding........maybe.

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preebo 6 years, 2 months ago

Al Jazeera's English website is actually fairly benign. I read it almost daily, along with BBC News, The Jerusalem Post, as well as CNN and MSNBC.com. I believe it to be important that I inform myself of the state of not only the city, state, and nation but also the world-at-large.

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tony88 6 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully if they happen... wouldn't that be real news?

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Eybea Opiner 6 years, 2 months ago

Will they be broadcasting beheadings and stonings?

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