‘Website is where Al Jazeera audience comes for in-depth coverage

This is an old post but I’m leaving it here for the hell of it. Failed links have been updated (where possible) or removed.

Robert Hernandez has a Q&A up on his blog with Al Jazeera online producer Bilal Randeree.

Hernandez introduces the piece thus:

Without a doubt, the leading news organization covering the historic Middle East unrest is Al Jazeera. Available in limited markets here, their website has been the home for its impressive coverage.

“We had figures that indicated that we had 2,500 percent increase in traffic; 60 percent of that traffic was from the United States of America,” said Satnam Matharu, the director of communications, in a recent interview with NPR.

I was interested to see that, because of time differences and news events, he carried out the interview with Randeree by meeting on a “collaborative document to have this conversation over several weeks”.

The interview covers a range of areas but I was interested in Randeree’s comments about how the web staff work with broadcast teams.

Can you describe the online operation at Al Jazeera? How incorporated is the Web staff? Do the different ‘sister stations’ with different languages have different Web staffs?

The English and Arabic channels are largely editorially independent – and so are the two websites. However, there is always the necessary collaboration and exchange of information, sources and resources.

The English website actually started before the English channel, but I’m not sure how things operated back then. These days, the website news desk is in the AJE newsroom, so we interact with broadcast quite a bit.

Typically, broadcast has reporters around the world covering the news for us – they are limited in terms of time on air, so the website is where our audience comes to for in-depth coverage and analysis of international news. Together with news from our reporters, we use the main news wires as sources, together with good old fashioned telephone journalism – the Internet is a major source obviously, and we are constantly finding and using new online tools for news gathering and contacting sources on the ground.

Rest of the post is here.