If you’ve been a news junkie long enough the easiest comparison for you to understand about Al Jazeera America is to remember the old CNN. Dedicated to news sourced by solid journalists on the spot, absolutely the opposite of TV talking heads dedicated to news-as-entertainment.
My best example of the loss of CNN happened the night Aaron Brown said goodbye – and he was replaced by some 5th Avenue fluff, Anderson Cooper.
My best example of the strength of AJAM – most folks’ shorthand for Al Jazeera America – is Tony Harris. One of my favorite news anchors at CNN till he finally left – as did so many others like Ali Velshi, now running their own shows at AJAM. This past week I got a pleasant surprise when someone showed up I haven’t seen since he was part of the Freedom Train down to MLK’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – Randall Pinkston. That was BITD when he worked for the CBS Local in Hartford, Connecticut.
Many more quality journalists than you will find remaining at any of the networks or cable stations now staff AJAM. It’s started in standard definition only – a bummer for TV geeks like me; but, I’m hopeful that will be remedied once the owners see what kind of reception good solid journalism is getting in the USA.
You needn’t take my word for it, though. Watch it yourself. It’s on channel 358 on DirecTV and they have a local finder at their website. News can be so much more than the sawdust imitation we’re limited to on the networks. I think you’ll find it a pleasant surprise. I can’t wait till Joie Chen gets to anchor her evening show in HD.