“With over 22,000 applications already received, Al Jazeera America has been flooded with interest in jobs at the channel,” reports Denise Males, senior vice president for human resources on the Qatar-owned network that goes live August 20.
The company has had 700 jobs to fill in recent months, and have already attracted high profile veterans from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC recently, including such recognizable faces as Soledad O’Brien and David Shuster.
Some remain unimpressed.
Tim Graham, director of research at the conservative Media Research Center, deems Al Jazeera America’s debut as an “Arab propaganda launch,” pointing out that the network replaces Current TV - “the channel Al Gore sold (out) to the emir of Qatar in January for a reported $500 million, and maybe more. Current TV is presently available in 60 million homes, and seen by much, much less.”
Mr. Graham also told the American Family News Network, a Christian news service, “This is where you have to wonder if you have these liberal journalists behaving in a very cynical manner. They’ve all talked themselves into the idea that this is a news channel, that this is not some kind of Arab propaganda outfit.”
Al Jazeera America’s management offer a different perspective.
“It will be a new product, not incremental tweaks in existing news formats,” predicts Kate O’Brian, the former ABC News senior vice-president for news, named president of Al Jazeera America on Monday.
The network will be “taking different bits and pieces from a lot of different organizations that already exist,” she notes in a question and answer session published online.
Meanwhile, applicants need more than a “stunning resume to stand out,” Ms. Males says. “Adaptability is key. Employees must understand the significance of using their ingenuity to piece everything together at a moment’s notice.”
There’s a new code of ethics, found here.
“Our hires need journalistic integrity,” Ms. Males adds. “It is what Al Jazeera stands for, so it is absolutely necessary.”
Close to 150 jobs still remain open at the network, based on a check of an online jobs bank on Thursday.