Al-Jazeera America Prepares For Tuesday Launch

Source: David Bauder / AP /Time.com

NEW YORK — In a warren of offices at a former bank building near Madison Square Garden, dozens of journalists are at work on gleaming new electronic equipment, ready to turn their test runs of Al-Jazeera America into the real thing.

The Qatar-based news organization will finally establish a firm foothold on American television Tuesday after a decade of trying. At 3 p.m. EDT, Al Gore’s former Current TV will turn out the lights in more than 45 million TV homes, replaced by the new U.S. affiliate of Al-Jazeera.

The network has hired many veterans of U.S. television, including John Seigenthaler, Joie Chen, Antonio Mora and Sheila MacVicar, and is promising a meaty diet of news that it believes will contrast with the opinionated talk that dominates American news networks. “We’re breaking in with something that we think is unique and are confident, with our guts and some research, that the American people are looking for,” said Kate O’Brian, the former ABC News executive who is now Al-Jazeera America’s president.

The dozens of flat-screen TVs and occupied desks scattered around marble pillars in AJA’s New York office indicate this is no cheap startup. And this is temporary; the network is looking for a larger office in New York but wanted to start quickly after buying out Current in January. Bureaus are also being established in 11 other American cities.

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