Ray Suarez Offers Insight
"Today there is no Al Jazeera America and I'm unemployed for the first time in more than 30 years." That's the way veteran journalist Ray Suarez started his presentation to the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, about journalism now and for the next generation. "Today if a company can borrow enough money it can own an almost limitless number of radio stations and television stations.. comtent requirements are dead... you can go live from just about anywhere on planet earth.. and large numbers of Americans don't watch or listen to a newscast or read a newspaper."
Suarez was host of "Inside Story" on Al Jazeera America until it went off the air in mid-April. He spoke frankly about the network's struggles, including having to pay to be on cable systems, unlike CNN, Fox, and MSNBC which get paid to be on them, and not being allowed to put its video content online for an American audience. He also said the channel's Arabic name and branding was a problem, but he also believes people's prejudices could have been overcome with more time and exposure.
Suarez said that although the business and the technology of broadcasting are changing rapidly, the journalist's assignment remains the same: to tell the story and provide context. He is currently exploring several options, including radio hosting, teaching and writing.