Al Jazeera America (AJAM) finds itself in the news for the most unfortunate reasons. In recent days, countless articles have covered the issues facing the fledgling network. Yet few have shared their views on what can be done to right the ship. That is where is D.C. Internationalist steps in for this special blog post. I hope you read my feedback as I used to be a journalist who also happens to have a great understanding of the U.S. and global news media landscape…who know what works, what doesn’t and why. These ideas, not terribly unique in nature, are aimed to help AJAM be far less bureaucratic, nimble, and sharper. If you’re in doubt, call me? Maybe?
Branding – The network has a weak on-air identity and even weaker tag line. There’s more to it, no pun intended. Who is your target audience? What is their age? What are you trying to convey? Here is a link to a recent tv news branding project that was very successful. Now, that’s what I call an identity. Sharp, clean, and powerful.
Resources – When a breaking news story develops, AJAM and AJE should not be sending their respective correspondents to cover the story. It’s a waste of money, time, and, resources to utilize multiple teams. I think one correspondent is capable of covering the story for both networks.
Programming – Partner more with independent production companies to provide scripted programming. Also, how about a Sunday AM show that invites foreign journalists based in DC and NY to offer their views of events here in the US? Flagships shows will need to be developed for the morning and evening hours so you attract a decent amount of advertising dollars. Develop a show that is co-anchored by an AJAM and AJE presenters. The show can go out live on the networks at the same time. Big savings there and fills in an hour of programming.
Website – Merge the AJAM website with the AJE website. Contribute to one main site where I can read stories by reporters of both networks. Segregating stories based on network affiliation is silly.