Al Jazeera America President: ‘We Don’t Do Pundits, We Don’t Do Yak-Yak-Yak’

By Merrill Knox 

al jazeera americaAl Jazeera America CEO Ehab Al Shihabi and president Kate O’Brian talked about the state of the network at a Paley Center breakfast panel Tuesday. Broadcasting & Cable has details:

[…] At 55 million U.S. homes, the network lacks scale comparable to all-news peers like CNN and Fox News, though O’Brian said she doesn’t consider the all-news nets true competitors. “We don’t do pundits, we don’t do yak-yak-yak,” she said. Mitchell noted the network had minimal coverage of the lost Malaysian jet, a story CNN feasted on for weeks, to the dismay of critics but to viewers’ apparent satisfaction.

One potential hurdle to Al Jazeera America’s growth is its name, which for some too closely links it to the media conglomerate controlled by the government of Qatar. Al Shihabi asserted the company is “very proud of the name. It has a brand value.” Masking the affiliation with parent Al Jazeera Media with another name could confuse viewers and the marketplace. And given “the strong firewall between the funding and editorial,” he said there was no point trying to start a new brand from scratch.