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Al Jazeera America To Open Chicago Bureau

Al Jazeera America, the new cable/satellite news channel set to launch this summer, has announced this week that they will be soon opening a "significant" news bureau in Chicago. The smaller bureau currently located in Chicago for Al Jazeera English -- originally opened at the end of 2011 with correspondent John Hendren -- will be expanded with at least three more news staffers, including on-air reporters.

The newly expanded Chicago bureau will focus on the important news stories of the Chicago market and around the Midwest.

Chicago's larger bureau is the first of 12 planned full news bureaus throughout the country for Al Jazeera America, all of which will be operation well before the launch of the new network. A new Detroit bureau was announced earlier today. Other planned bureaus yet to be officially announced appear to be: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Miami, Denver, Seattle, New Orleans, and Nashville.

Ehab Al Shihabi is the Executive Director of International Operations for Al Jazeera, as well as the senior executive in charge of developing the new Al Jazeera America news channel. He and staffers from Al Jazeera visited Chicago this week, meeting with members of the local business community, as well as politicians. (Pictured at the right is Ehab Al Shihabi and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.)

In a statement this week, Al Shihabi said: "It is important for Al Jazeera America to report on the news from where it's happening. Chicago is a critically important city from a financial, political and social perspective. We could not create a channel that fully covers U.S. news and events without having a significant bureau in the Windy City."

Also while in Chicagoland this Tuesday, the Al Jazeera staff visited journalism students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. They announced that Al Jazeera will be offering an internship program at its New York City headquarters for at least one Chicago-area journalism student, and perhaps more. The interns will be able to work closely with staff to help create on-air and online content for Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera purchased the struggling cable network Current TV in January of this year. They are projecting July 2013 as the target launch time of their new all-news network Al Jazeera America in place of Current TV. With carriage plans in place already with the major cable and satellite providers, Al Jazeera America is expected to be available on televisions in over 40 million households nationwide.

The channel will be entirely U.S. based.

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