Burlington Telecom and Al Jazeera, work work, and Buono’s Italian Restaurant

June 26, 2008

Well thank goodness a decision is made regarding Al Jazeera and our lovely local network. A joint resolution by the two advisory committees recommends that it remains on the channel lineup.

It should behoove you who want to make a case against a channel to bring evidence to back up claims next time. The issue was worthy and very important to defend, but please: you who would wish to censor my media experiences, why not use your time and efforts for more productive purposes. Instead of wishing away Al Jazeera, why not further your cause(s) in a creative and instructive way. For example, why not start your own channel? there seems to be enough of an organizational thrust behind you. Talk is cheap.

WCAX covered the story this evening. I noticed that a clip running behind one of their interviews showed the orange jumpsuits and the hooded men, a clear allusion to, and reminder of the beheadings. I don’t think WCAX is complicit in the disinformation campaign against Al Jazeera, but their unfortunate choice of back drop does not un-muddy the waters.

And now, we can all get back to business. I did not do any Telecom door-knocking today, but I did manage to work in at least three other areas– 1.5 hours on a contract painting job on Willard Street, 6 hours on bookkeeping and tax work with my finance guru, and 1.25 hours for Ribbecke Studios cementing 2 panels. Tomorrow, I will paint in my studio… oh- after opening at Ribbecke Studios. I have a painting to finish… tomorrow is the day!

Evening dinner with friend at Buono’s on Shelburne Rd. Rumor had it that there was fried chicken to be had on Shelburne Road. Yes indeed, Buono’s did, but at $18, I balked. I ordered the Pesto Linguine at $10.50, and based on the quality of that dish, decided I was glad that I hadn’t gone for the fried chicken. Olive oil and basil flakes do not pesto make. The first cup of coffee was stale and burned, the room was too loud. But the company and conversation made up for it. Living by art. Why is it so easy to show up for work at other people’s operations and projects to help them along in their processes, but nearly impossible to stay focused on my own? I think it comes down to risk management, which is further deconstructed to get to fear. REALLY? …FEAR?


  1. The recommedation by two advisory committees that Al Jazeera news channel should continue to be offered on Burlington Telecom cable is not unusal but in line with how professional bodies elsewhere reflect on the merits and demerits of this news channel serving as an alternate source on global developments.

    The Citizens Advisory committee established by the Vermont Public Service Board and the Telecom Advisory Committee created by the Burlington City Council pondered if having Al Jazeera English brings any value to Burlington viewers. The timing of their deliberations coincided with that of the juries at two presigious media awards who recently looked at AJE’s professional credentials.

    Al Jazeera English has excelled at the 17th Amnesty International UK Media Awards announced in London on 17th June . The awards recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism’s significant contribution to the UK public’s awareness and understanding of human rights issues. In the category of International television and radioAl Jazeera English’s entry “The lost tribe – Secret army of the CIA” was declared the winner.

    The other two contestants short-listed were:
    Assignment: Louisiana burning, BBC World Service

    Inside Myanmar – the crackdown, Al Jazeera English.

    Those serving on the Amnesty’s panel of judges for entries in the category of International television and radio were Mike Blakemore, Katherine Butler, Tim Marshall, Naresh Puri and Tim Singleton.

    It may be recalled that on 10th June 2008, the award for “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th Monte Carlo Television Festival conferred upon Al Jazeera English is not an aberration, but, one in a series of accomplishments scored by a news channel launched only in November 2006. The award recognized Al Jazeera English’s “extensive international reach and efforts to dig deeper to give its international audience a richer understanding of the events that affect their lives.” Al Jazeera English beat entries from BBC News, Sky News, Lisboa TV and the Phoenix Satellite Television Company to take home the award.

    Even a cursory glance at AJE’s accomplishments since its launch Al Jazeera English has proved it to be a unique news channel, winning a number of nominations in recognition of its professional quality and technical accomplishments. This also shows AJE’s potential to set new standards in the coming years:

    Al Jazeera English’s Far East Correspondent Hamish Macdonald won Royal Television Society”s Young Journalist of the Year Award for 2007 while it’s Africa correspondent Haru Mutasa was also among the three nominees.

    Al Jazeera English was nominated for news channel of the year in its first year of broadcasting and was up against BBC News 24 and 2006’s winner Sky News. The awards were presented on 20 February 2008 at a ceremony at the London Hilton, hosted by ITV News at Ten’s Julie Etchingham. Over all, Aljazeera English won Royal Television Society Television Journalism Award nominations in the following categories: News – International Afghanistan: Taliban Embed – Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English News Channel of the Year Al Jazeera English Young Journalist of the Year Hamish Macdonald – Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English Haru Mutasa – Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English.

    At the 12th Asian Television 2007 Awards, it won the award for Best Single News/Report (Kylie Grey, Orange) Environment Special, and came runners-up for Best news programme Half Hour Bulletin-from Kula Lumpur.

    Additionally, Al Jazeera English has won three awards at the BDA World Gold Awards. AJE was presented with three Bronze trophies at the 2007 PROMAX & BDA International Conference in New York 14 June 2007 in the categories of Art Direction & Design: Topical Campaign

    An even-handed approach to judge a news channel is to look at its demerits and merits. Are there some commentators overwhelmed by an urge to become an executioner before even pretending to be judge and jury? In Aljazeera’s case, many critics with a disposition to dismiss everything new, haste to pass a judgement prior to looking at it sufficiently enough and objectively enough.

  2. Hey Jim, thanks for your thoughtful and very interesting comments. I am not an expert in the world of international news organizations, thus was not aware of the awards that you have mentioned. I wish someone would write an article for our local Burlington Free Press including this very relevant information that you pass along. Why not you?

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