Al Jazeera America In Trouble…

The New York Times’ John Kolbin writes about Al Jazeera America…

Almost two years later, the ratings have not come, nor have the profits. The station has been a nonfactor in news, drawing about 30,000 viewers a night. To make matters worse, in the last week, a lawsuit and an exodus of top executives have brought to the surface a series of grievances that employees say reflects a deep dysfunction in management of the newsroom, undermining the network’s mission.

The control room at Al Jazeera America in New York. A lawsuit and the exit of top executives have led to reports of conflict. Credit Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
“I didn’t want to be there anymore because I didn’t like the culture of fear,” said Marcy McGinnis, the network’s former senior vice president for news gathering, who resigned on Monday. “People are afraid to lose their jobs if they cross Ehab.”

Ms. McGinnis, who most recently served as Al Jazeera America’s senior vice president for outreach, said that the newsroom was in total “disarray behind the scenes,” a view echoed by almost a dozen current and former employees interviewed.

Ms. McGinnis, who formerly worked at CBS News, was the third top Al Jazeera official in the last week to announce a departure. On Thursday, the chief of human resources, Diana Lee, and the executive vice president for communications, Dawn Bridges, resigned. On the same day, a former employee sued the company, claiming he had been fired after he complained to human resources about a powerful colleague. The complaint contains accusations of anti-Semitism, sexual discrimination and episodes of retribution against employees.

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