Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Self-Delusion, Self-Loathing and Al Jazeera - Part 2

Al Jazeera has been around a lot longer than the younger media generation care to remember. Founded in 1996 via Emiri decree (a rule/decision handed down from the Head of State), the network has come to terms with more challenges than any other Arab-based news network in history. With legions of avid followers balanced out by equal doses of harsh critique, it is without doubt that Al Jazeera continues to build on its already formidable media empire, going from strength to strength within the industry.

Considering my previous post about the rejection from an exec producer at AJE London, my question is: What does it take to work at Al Jazeera? Clearly, from the producer's response, I do not have the right experience. Let's discuss this shall we? 

I hold a Masters degree in Social Change and Development, where social transformation is key. Social transformation is the shift of a particular cultural mindset within the context of a nation, a peoples, a government, etc, and as influenced by culture, politics, history, the economy and so on. 

As an equipped social impact assessment trainee, I have researched the effects of the Westernisation of Bollywood on the Indian film industry, and in effect it’s one billion plus fans. A reflection on ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and its counter effects, would make a brilliant episode for AJE's ‘48’, don’t you think? 

I have also delved into the Southeast/South Asian labour movement to the Middle East and the local/regional minorities that suffer at the loss of a potentially promising local workforce. There’s another idea for you Amanda Palmer

Barbara Serra is a presenter with AJE in London. She is of Milanese origin and has an educational background in Journalism and International Relations. I can relate, with my background in Media and Cultural Studies. Serra began her career with the BBC as a researcher. 

As a postgraduate student, and then as a staff writer and now a deputy editor, I've been trained and have researched material within the realms of education, culture, entertainment, the F&B industry, politics and many more. Articles I've consequently had published include items covering the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), the taboo posed by psychiatric aid, and the worldwide phenomenon that is Indian cuisine. For arguments sake, let’s say I could do that BBC research job.

Years on, she now presents several sociocultural programs on the AJE network, such as one of my personal favourites, ‘Street Food’, alongside news reading from the London offices. Serra is also the first non-native English speaker to have EVER presented the news on British television. 

But who are these people really? Do they care what we feel or what we say? Why do we write our blogs, update our Facebook’s and tweet relentlessly issues they publish? Is anyone listening? They should do. And yes, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out why.


  1. Who can say what someone is looking for at a particular time, for a particular position. You certainly seem well qualified for an entry position. As for why we self-publish: probably as many different reasons as there are people doing it. How's that for a non-answer? :-)

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    When I wrote this, it wasn't the rejection that upset me per se. Of course I was disappointed but not so much with the rejection but rather, the dismissal. I see myself as a strong potential candidate and I also see much of my journey thus far in that of many of the presenters at these respected networks, yet the same thing is said to me continuously: 'its not what you know its who you know'.

    What if I dont know anyone?? Surely my personal merit must account for something?