(from left to right: Kim Bondy, Kate O’Brian, Richelle Carey)
Al Jazeera America launched earlier this week fostering conversation across the media industry by both experts and viewers about what this launch means for the news.
While the network does have a long road ahead to rebrand the channel in America, and gain viewership, we were particularly struck by the women at the helm of the new network. What we admire aside from the diversity in backgrounds and ethnicities of the 600 new hires is the gender diversity.
In some of the more high profile positions, women are at the helm. Kate O’Brian, a 30 year veteran of ABC news is the president of the network. Kim Bondy is the senior exectutive producer of the flagship show “America Tonight.” Women & girls advocate Richelle Carey is an anchor on the network and was part of the network’s debut programming.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to create a news product that I think is sorely missing in the American media landscape right now,” explained O’Brian. “There is a great history of quality journalism at Al Jazeera, and I am looking forward to bringing all that to Al Jazeera America.”
The site posted a few interviews introducing some of the key staff members. The interview with Bondy is epecially compelling and inspiring. She explains her role in the company, goes through a typical day, and shares details of her most rigourous assignment: Hurricane Katrina.
“I was leading coverage of the biggest man-made weather disaster in American history, and I myself was a victim of that storm,” explained Bondy. “I’m from New Orleans, and I have a home there that was destroyed in the storm.”
Another pivotal take away is Bondy’s response to how she arrived at this point in her career.
“I always knew what I wanted to do in this business and I just set goals along the way. I wanted to do something that was satisfying to me from a career perspective but also from a personal perspective. I then took a seven-year break from the everyday news business because I wanted to have time to do some other things in my life and try some new things, like working toward my MBA. That was important to me personally. Balancing what’s best for my career and my personal life is a very hard thing to do, especially if you choose to be in the news business.”
Soledad O’Brien is a contributing correspondent on the network. O’Brien released a statement saying she is looking forward to ”beginning a relationship with Al Jazeera America, which has made a commitment to producing quality programming and pursuing underreported stories.”