Behind the scenes at Al Jazeera English


18 daysIf you’re one of those media junkies who likes to be first with the news, you need to know that Scott Bridges’ 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution is now available for pre-order from this very website. The official digital publication date is this Saturday, but the first pre-orders “shipped” this afternoon.

You’ll be keen to read it to get to know University of Canberra journalism lecturer and ex-Al Jazeera English director Bridges. He’s a media commentator and non-fiction author to watch. Here at Editia, we feel privileged to be publishing his first book.

If you haven’t already heard about 18 days, here’s the blurb:

“On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule of Egypt came to an end after 18 days of massive and unprecedented street protests. In the course of those few days, a 24-hour news channel unlike any other, Al Jazeera English, emerged in a crowded global news market as the source for reporting on the Egyptian Revolution. 18 Days examines the Doha-based channel’s coming of age and discovers how a network known to many in the West as “Terror TV” was transformed almost overnight into a trusted and indispensable source of news.”

Sound like it has the makings of a cracker yarn? That’s because it is. Bridges has woven a fast-paced narrative around some of the most significant events of the Arab Spring.

We gain behind-the-scenes insights into the operations of a dedicated television news network both at HQ and on the ground. Forget CNN and BBC World: Al Jazeera is where it’s at, as the recent launch of Al Jazeera America attests.

Anyone who is considering a career in television news or as a foreign correspondent, or who has even a passing interest in the convergence between television and online, needs to read 18 days.

Personally, I’ve been living vicariously through the Al Jazeera English correspondents these past few weeks as they experienced the Egyptian Revolution in the pages of the book. I won’t say I wish I was there, but I am glad that they were, because it’s a story that needed to be told.

I’m looking forward to following future developments on Scott’s blog, too, as Al Jazeera extends its market into the US and beyond.

This is what I’d hoped it’d be all about here at Editia: longform journalism at its best.