Sunday, January 25, 2009

American Viewership of Al-Jazeera Rises Dramatically

Associated Press (via Common Dreams) reporting from Doha, Qatar, January 25, 2009 - American viewership of Al-Jazeera English rose dramatically during the Israel-Hamas war, partly because the channel had what CNN and other international networks didn't have: reporters inside Gaza.

But the viewers weren't watching it on television, where the Arab network's English-language station has almost no U.S. presence.

Instead, the station streamed video of Israel's offensive against Hamas on the Internet and took advantage of emerging online media such as the microblogging Web site Twitter to provide real-time updates.....

"Having reporters in Gaza - which others did not have - that's what made Al-Jazeera stand out and that's important on the Internet," said Jeff Jarvis, who teaches journalism at the City University of New York...

Overall, the station's Web video stream saw a 600% jump in worldwide viewership during the Gaza offensive - and about 60% of those hits came from the United States, according to the station's internal numbers.

Outside figures also point to big gains in U.S. online interest, suggesting the war gave the Arab station its first significant chance to break into the American market.....

[Note: You can find links to Al-Jazeera English and Arabic in the Resources section of this web site.]

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