The new CEO of Al Jazeera America, Al Anstey, arrives in New York tomorrow and will start as his new job as the network seeks to keep from imploding and contain any more damage. He was named CEO last week. Ahead of his arrival, Anstey sent the below note to employees of the network. TKNN obtained the note sent. Anstey speaks about the mission of AJAM and integrity. Then, he makes a statement that could be a reference to the previous CEO, saying, “Respect, transparency, and the best practice of management is the only standard we will adhere to, and we will expect nothing less.” This could be a subtle reference to Ehab Al Shihabi’s tenure which many inside the company have described as hostile and threatening. Instead, Anstey says he will strive for respect. Anstey also says he will hold team town halls to hear from employees “with the aim of bringing the team together with a unified mission and spirit.” After the CEO change was announced last week, reports indicated that the newsroom celebrated the fact that Al Shihabi was leaving as CEO, only to have a somber mood when it was later revealed it would continue at the network as COO.
Read the note:
I arrive in New York tomorrow evening and am looking forward to working with every one of you.
We have a critically important job to do. To tell the stories, and cover people caught up in events, that need to be heard. To provide information that is trusted, that challenges, that informs, and ultimately that inspires. This may sound like great PR, but it is a fact. You all know there are untold stories out there that deserve to be told. Decisions and organizations that need to be questioned and challenged. And moments of achievement and celebration that merit coverage. And that’s our job. No spin. No infotainment. No opinion inherent in our output. Just powerful stories and people to be heard.
That is our commitment to our audiences. And to our future viewers. That is what we are known for. That’s why we win acclaim and awards and will do so in the future. And this is the foundation for Al Jazeera America’s future.
We will and must stand up to scrutiny every time. The more powerful our content, the more we will be challenged by those that want us to tell stories their way. So we must be confident, and we must have courage in our journalism. And we must always be correct with our facts, and honest with our viewers.
You’ll hear me use the word integrity a lot internally and externally. It is the cornerstone of everything we do internally at Al Jazeera America, and with the product our viewers see every second of every day on every platform we deliver our information.
It is critical that we all uphold this integrity at AJAM. We are all part of the same team. Respect, transparency, and the best practice of management is the only standard we will adhere to, and we will expect nothing less.
In the coming days as I familiarize myself with AJAM I look forward to catching up with as many of you as I can. I will be meeting with the leadership team in the days to come to learn from them too – and start working together on the way forward. In the next couple of weeks I will hold a briefing and answer all the questions you may have openly, honestly, and with the aim of bringing the team together with a unified mission and spirit.
In the weeks ahead we will be holding editorial sessions too, in order to articulate and debate the editorial DNA of AJAM so everyone knows why we are different to the rest, and why that identity and commitment is of immense value and appeal to our audiences. I will also outline the strategy for our future development and evolution, to ensure everyone understands where we are going, and why.
Our mission is fundamentally in service of those people we cover and everyone that we provide information to – and our new viewers in the future. The information we provide is critical. We have a huge responsibility, and we will uphold it with courage, with independence, and with integrity.
I look forward to working with you all, and meeting you soon.
AL ANSTEY | CEO
AL JAZEERA AMERICA