When Al Jazeera English (AJE) launched last year, a lot of Americans hoped that it would be a big moment in television history.
Increased US understanding of the Arab perspective! Expansion of available international news! A cable channel with fewer blonde ladies as anchors!
Instead of this, what we got was a bunch of YouTube videos.
See, AJE had one small problem with living up to its full potential: No freaking cable station in the US would carry it. That makes it pretty difficult to have a big impact when you are, you know, a cable network.
But not to fear, American cable diversity desirers... AJE has a YouTube channel! And last week, the network released a video of Ghida Fakhry, one of its anchors, soliciting video feedback about the channel from the all-important YouTube user demographic.
"We plan on putting many of these responses on TV," she added foolishly.
True to form, YouTube users responded with dozens of videos. One featured a gray, animated Shrek-like character calling for less bias in reporting; several mentioned how pretty Fakhry is; and one eloquent American advised the network to "go f*** yourself."
That's user-generated content for you. A nice idea, but it's not quite as sweet as a cable deal.
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track