You know what makes a great media town even better? More media. The only thing better than a city with one thriving newspaper is a city that can support more than one. (I know, I know, 'thriving' and 'newspaper' don't necessarily belong in the same sentence.) Al Jazeera America launched this week, with 12 brand new bureaus across the country and a newsroom staff of over 400, 16 of whom will be assigned to an investigative news unit. They will be headquartered in New York, with a major Washington DC presence. Bureaus are already up and running in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle. That's right. No Boston bureau. Not only should we want a bureau here, we should ask for one.
According to an Al Jazeera spokesperson, "a Boston bureau is being considered."
(A very abbreviated backstory: Early in 2013, former VP Al Gore sold his poorly performing Current TV channel to the Qatar-based network for something like $500 million. While the exact figure paid by Al Jazeera to Gore isn't public, what is known is that they bought the rights to the agreements Current TV had with cable operators, and therefore the rights to bring their broadcast to your television.)
Before you made any judgments (especially anything along the lines of 'isn't that the TV station affiliated with terrorism?'), I would encourage you to read some of what has been written about Al Jazeera America by The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik: this and, in particular, this.
I'm a big fan of lots of what's done by the long-standing players in the Boston media. But there's an infinite amount more that could be covered. A way to hold more people accountable and bring more clarity to the events shaping our daily lives? A news organization with new ideas and deep pockets? A mayoral race with a dozen candidates, two of whom have basically the same last name? We can use all the help we can get. I say bring Al Jazeera to Boston.
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