18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution

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Editia, Nov 30, 2013 - Social Science - 373 pages

This is the story of a plucky newsroom in the middle of an anonymous Middle Eastern desert city that through its coverage of one huge story changed the rules of 24-hour TV news.

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. While established networks such as CNN and BBC World battled to provide comprehensive first-hand accounts of developments in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, news consumers across the world found superior coverage on Al Jazeera English. The New York Times said AJE “provided more exhaustive coverage than anyone else”; The Atlantic argued, “It is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera has been the eyes and ears of [the Arab Spring].”

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. Drawing on content analysis and interviews with key players inside the organisation, the book goes behind the cameras to tell stories of newsgathering ingenuity, hair-raising moments of danger, and internal tension. It examines the network’s relationship with its Qatari benefactors and charges of editorial bias, along with the legacy of Egypt for Al Jazeera English as the brand expands its footprint into the United States.

Author Scott Bridges provides updates on Al Jazeera English via 18daysaje.comfacebook.com/18daysaje and @18daysaje.


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About the author (2013)

 Scott Bridges has taught at the University of Canberra since 2011 and currently lectures in communications and journalism. His PhD looks at how Al Jazeera’s reach and influence is expanding in the non-Arabic-speaking world. Prior to joining the University of Canberra he taught communications at the University of Wollongong.

Scott worked two contracts as a director at Al Jazeera English in 2010 and 2011. He was not in Doha during the Egyptian Revolution but was on shift as Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed after the fall of Tripoli.

Scott started work on 18 Days after finishing work at AJE and spent 18 months on the project, including two research trips back to Qatar. It is his first book.

He blogs at scottbridges.id.au and is @s_bridges on Twitter. Book-related posts and tweets on 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution can be found at 18daysaje.comfacebook.com/18daysaje and @18daysaje.

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