New Orleans and Nashville are reportedly in line for Al Jazeera America news bureaus.
Though most bureau locations have not been announced, Politico reported that the network is initially planning 12 bureaus in the United States, many in places that other media outlets ignore or have just a cursory presence. According to Politico’s Dylan Byers, the list of cities was provided to Politico on background.
Al Jazeera, the Middle East news network based in Qatar, purchased Current TV in January and announced plans to rebrand the channel as Al Jazeera America. Former vice president Al Gore was a founder of and 20 percent shareholder in Current TV. The deal was reportedly worth $500 million.
An impetus for the deal was the difficulty Al Jazeera has had in trying to get onto U.S. cable systems. That may still be an issue, as Time Warner dropped Current TV immediately after the deal was announced.
Bob Wheelock, executive producer of Al-Jazeera English, told the Tennessean that they anticipate being carried on cable systems reaching 50 million U.S. households when the channel launches later this year.
Many in the Jewish community are wary of what type of slant the new network will take, especially in coverage of Israel. Abe Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, said “Al Jazeera has a troubling record… particularly in its Arabic language broadcasts. It has exploited and exaggerated the Arab-Israel conflict in a heavy-handed and propagandistic manner, and always at the expense of Israel.”
The Forward, on the other hand, wrote that the channel “may not be TV bogeyman.”
On the other hand, on April 10 a global Israeli news channel, i24news, was announced. It will broadcast in English, Arabic and French from near Tel Aviv starting later this summer. The channel will also have cell phone apps, video on demand and a website.