Al Jazeera America has set Aug. 20 as its launch date while naming ABC News veteran Kate O’Brian to be the president of the new broadcasting operation.
While many rival television outlets are cutting back in staffing, Al Jazeera America has aggressively hired broadcast and other media journalists. See more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/07/201372222548960761.html
Al Jazeera America recognizes that it will take time for it to find a substantial audience in the United States. Not only is it entering a rather crowded network and cable news ecosystem, but it must also overcome the possible stigma of being associated with a foreign establishment.
While we wish this didn’t have to be a factor in 2013, it remains a legitimate issue. The BBC is a well respected journalistic name, for instance, but it, too, has had a challenge in breaking through in the U.S.
Plus, Al Jazeera America has settled on a no-frills, straightforward news broadcasting style, to its credit. While this is a high ideal in today’s fluffy TV news world, it is true that many viewers care more about every nuance of the birth of the royal baby in London than progress being made in Middle East peace efforts.
Last January, Al Jazeera acquired Current TV to give it access to millions of homes in the U.S.
Al Jazeera America stresses that it will be patient as it makes its way in the U.S. The question is whether it can persuade American viewers to give its offerings a chance — and then keep coming back to the channel.