Friday was the last day for the digital staff of Al Jazeera America as the news organization prepares to completely close. The website led with a valedictory note from Tony Karon, the senior executive producer of digital. The piece is titled “Good night and good luck” after Edward R. Murrow’s sign-off.
Karon wrote that AJAM’s main principle was that “no single human life is worth less than any other.” He also wrote, “We tried in our brief tenure to uphold the fine tradition of an American journalism that comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Tradition long predates AJAM and will hopefully long outlive it. But AJAM offered us a brief, inspirational taste of a world where talented journalists are unleashed to pursue the profession’s best traditions without commercial pressure.”
The homepage led with a section of stories looking, and largely praising, AJAM while a breaking news banner told readers to continue reading Al Jazeera English. The headlines included, “Al Jazeera remains essential global news source,” “Al Jazeera America to shut down,” “Readers respond to closure,” and “A model for the way journalism should be done.”
The pre-planned shuttering comes a day after AJAM published a satiric opinion piece from the Prof. Jeff Jarvis Twitter account that made fun of AJAM. AJAM later deleted the piece.
AJAM digital employees got a sheet cake for their last day. The cake’s decoration was tongue-in-cheek with the decorated homepage including headlines like “Voice of the jobless: AJAM staffers freed from Qatar servitude,” “Stone tablets the future,” “Journalism is not a career,” and “That’s all folks!”