It was a “match made in journalism heaven” said to Kate O’Brian, president of Al Jazeera America, referring to former host of PBS "NewsHour" Ray Suarez joining AJAM to host a new daily show, "Inside Story." He’ll start at the network November 11.
The switch to cable news is novel. Despite originally starting with CNN as a Los Angeles correspondent, Suarez has spent most of his 20 years in public radio and public television, as well as reporting commercial news over the air for WMAQ in Chicago. It was AJAM’s “dedication to quality reporting; to objective reporting; to leaving celebrity journalism to others…; and the dedication to depth,” that indicated to Suarez the two parties were on the same "wavelength," he said in a conference call for reporters on Monday.
Suarez added that he doesn’t believe the media should be perceived “like a ‘one item on the menu’ restaurant; it’s a smorgasbord…,” he said, and in his view AJAM meets both the "razzle-dazzle" of cable news and what you might see on PBS NewsHour. “This may be kind of a hybrid…,” he said, referring to the network’s format.
AJAM will provide fewer commercials per hour, delivering the breaking news of the day and provide "long-form and longer pieces inside the confines of the new shows,” said Suarez. The network is also working on a morning show, sports show and a culture show, which will air in 2014. The sports show, scheduled to air first, is a “long-form deep dive into great sports stories of the week,” said O’Brian. Premiering after that is the culture show, currently being produced by the same team as AJAM’s science and technology show, "TechKnow."
Current Inside Story host and Capitol Hill correspondent Libby Casey will continue her responsibilities on the Hill.