Al Jazeera America Announces Correspondents for Regional Bureaus

By Merrill Knox Comment

Al Jazeera America is adding five more correspondents from the local news landscape to its ranks. The network has announced the hires of Ash-har Quraishi, Heidi Zhou-Castro, Bisi Onile-Ere,  Natasha Ghoneim and Jonathan Martin.

The three hires were revealed as the network, which is slated to launch next month, announced plans to open bureaus in 12 cities across the United States:  Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. With the exception of Zhou-Castro and Ghoneim, each of the correspondents will stay in the same market as they join Al Jazeera.

Quraishi, who will be Al Jazeera America’s Chicago correspondent, joins the network from WTTW, the PBS station in Chicago, where he was a reporter for the nightly newscast “Chicago Tonight” and a contributor to PBS “NewsHour.”

Zhou Castro joins Al Jazeera from YNN Austin, where she was the evening and weekend news anchor. She will be based in the network’s Dallas bureau.

Onile-Ere will be based in Detroit for Al Jazeera. She comes from WDIV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit. 

Ghoneim joins the network after time at KNBC in Los Angeles, WDIV in Detroit and KHOU in Houston. She has most recently worked at NY1 in New York City as a videojournalist. At Al Jazeera, she will be based in Miami.

Martin joins the network from WSMV in Nasvhille, where he was a reporter and anchor. He will work in the Al Jazeera America Nashville bureau.

Allen Schauffler, who signed off from KING in Seattle over the weekend, has been assigned to the Al Jazeera America Seattle bureau.

The full lists of correspondents below:


Correspondents Have Deep Local And National Reporting Experience

NEW YORK – (July 30, 2013) – Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel that will launch Aug. 20, today announced the correspondents who will report from the channel’s 12 new U.S. news bureaus.

Al Jazeera America will have bureaus in the following cities: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“It is critical for Al Jazeera America to have bureaus strategically placed throughout the U.S. so that we can cover the news from wherever it happens,” said Marcy McGinnis, Al Jazeera America’s senior vice-president, newsgathering. “We want our correspondents to report on a wide range of local, state and regional stories within the context of what it means for the rest of the country. The extraordinary team of correspondents, producers and crews we have assembled has the experience to find and report stories that will resonate with our national audience.”

The Al Jazeera America bureaus and the respective correspondents are as follows:

Chicago: Ash-har Quraishi will be Al Jazeera America’s Chicago correspondent. Before joining Al Jazeera America, Quraishi was a correspondent for WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station, where he reported for the nightly news program Chicago Tonight and contributed to the PBS NewsHour. Quraishi also served as the chief investigative reporter for the CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, Mo., and as CNN’s Islamabad bureau chief and correspondent immediately following the September 11 attacks.

Quraishi has received a CINE Golden Eagle Award, a Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club, three National Headliners and five Emmy Awards. In 2009, he received an Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting. Quarishi also co-produced the award-winning documentary “Fordson” that was named Best U.S. Documentary Feature at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival in 2011.

Dallas: Former YNN Austin evening and weekend news anchor Heidi Zhou Castro will be based out of the new Al Jazeera bureau in Dallas, Texas. She has reported in Texas since 2007 for YNN and also worked as a Spanish-language reporter in Galapagos, Ecuador.

Zhou-Castro received the 2010 Texas AP Broadcast Award for Best Investigative reporting and the 2008 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.

Denver: Paul Beban, a former producer for Al Jazeera English, will be the correspondent in Denver, Colorado. Beban has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature in a News Magazine; an Emmy Award for Outstanding Analysis of a Business or Financial Story, Long Form; and George Foster Peabody and Alfred I. duPont Awards as a member of the ABC News 9/11 coverage team. He spent several years at ABC News as a correspondent, producer and writer.

Detroit: Bisi Onile-Ere will be AL Jazeera’s correspondent in Detroit, Michigan. Onile-Ere previously reported for WDIV-TV, Detroit’s NBC affiliate. She also was an anchor and reporter at WJRT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Flint, Michigan. She began her career at KDLH in Duluth, Minn. as a morning anchor, reporter and producer, and at WCCO in Minneapolis, Minn. Onile-Ere has won two Emmy Awards and an Associated Press Award.

Los Angeles: Jennifer London, former national correspondent for NBC Network News and MSNBC, will be Al Jazeera America’s Los Angeles correspondent. In addition to her work at NBC, London was a correspondent at KCET in Los Angeles and also worked for HDNet’s World Report.

London’s work has earned her an Emmy Award for investigative reporting, an Alfred I. duPont Award, three LA Press Club Awards, a Golden Mike Award and a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

Miami: Natasha Ghoneim will be Al Jazeera America’s correspondent in its new Miami bureau. Ghoneim previously worked as a general assignment reporter covering local and national breaking news for stations across the country including KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, Calif., WDIV-TV in Detroit, Mich. and KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas. Ghoneim also produced foreign affairs stories at Blouin News, reported breaking news for NY1 in New York City, and was a reporter for Al Ahram Online in Cairo, Egypt.

Nashville: Award-winning journalist Jonathan Martin will join Al Jazeera America as the correspondent in its new Nashville bureau. Martin previously worked as a reporter and anchor for WSMV-TV in Nashville. He also spent several years as a radio and television reporter in Augusta and Atlanta, Georgia. Martin has earned two Associated Press-Alabama journalism awards and is a national recipient of the coveted CBS News Ed Bradley Award.

New Orleans: Robert Ray will serve as correspondent for the New Orleans bureau. Before joining Al Jazeera America, Ray reported across all media platforms for the Associated Press. Ray also was a producer and videographer for Fox Business and Fox News Channel and an executive producer, videographer, editor and writer for the Emmy Award-winning series Inside Chicago at WTTW-PBS in Chicago.

Ray received the 2012 National Press Club’s breaking news award for his coverage of the tornado in Joplin, Mo. and a contributor to a national Edward R. Murrow Award.

Seattle: Local Seattle news anchor, KING Channel 5’s Allen Schauffler will report for Al Jazeera America from its new Seattle bureau. Schauffler spent more than 20 years at KING as an anchor, reporter, show-host and the station’s primary correspondent for the last seven Olympic Games. He also served as an anchor, reporter and producer for KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Washington D.C.: Libby Casey will be Al Jazeera America’s correspondent in Washington, D.C. Casey most recently was a host and producer for C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, the channel’s three-hour morning political and public affairs show. Before that she was the Washington correspondent for the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Casey has received Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Silver Reel and Alaska Press Club Awards. She received a Public Service Award from the Alaska Press Club for “Remembering the Fallen,” a series which profiled soldiers killed in Iraq.

New York and San Francisco: The correspondents in New York City and San Francisco will be announced at a later date.