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Reporter’s notebook: An ongoing, incredible journey Al Jazeera news


I landed in Doha in October 2005 as part of a team to launch the new Al Jazeera English Channel.

I already had a very familiar relationship with Al Jazeera. My first job and the one I left for ABC News in London to come to Doha. They had a broadcast deal with Al Jazeera and so we shared the footage and talked to our opponents often.

Doha sounded exciting. I deployed and dealt with ABC colleagues stationed there during the Iraq war. Watching their live shots from the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the acclaimed documentary control room inevitably gave it an exciting, albeit somewhat dusty, allure.

The other thing that attracted me was that it was made up of people from all over the world. I grew up living on different continents and therefore a workplace with different nationalities, opinions and identities that I have identified the most.

I started as an output producer when Al Jazeera didn’t even have an English building. It was left to be built.

We first sat in the Al Jazeera Arabic newsroom, which started 10 years ago on the English channel. Staying in that newsroom was as much a novelty for us as it was for our Arabic colleagues.

The launch of Al Jazeera English continued to be delayed so we tried to stay busy even though there was not much to do at that time. I learned to kitesurf at Kuttle Beach, a long walk away, the big beach where the city of Lusell now stands, a sign of how much the metropolis has grown in the last 16 years.

We moved from the Al Jazeera compound to a villa across the street, also spending time in the temporary portabin. And after much delay, we moved there when our building was finished. It was shiny and new and we were excited and ready to take on the world.

I was part of the launch team at the time, creating the Somalia division with our correspondent Mohamed Ador in Mogadishu for our launch show. We wanted to show Al Jazeera the opportunity in our opening moments. We’ve introduced the new channel with journalists from around the world, setting the tone for how we wanted to cover the news: with an international reach – but also from a place where no other channel was.

Despite having a job at the output desk, I immediately set out to produce for reporters and presenters on the historic election of former President Barack Obama from Jerusalem to Iraq, and from Jordan to Afghanistan and Chicago.

I did my first job as a reporter from northern Iraq in 2007 and since then, I have pitched in the Angolan election in 2008, the first since the civil war. I speak Portuguese so it gave my bosses some confidence and they liked a report I did before. But I was never on assignment as a reporter and when it was approved, I couldn’t believe it.

Taking a chance on me then, as a young producer with little reporting experience, was a risk for them. Fortunately, it was all right an opportunity that shaped my career path and for which I will always be grateful.

I’ve worked my way from output producer to senior producer, reporter, reporter, senior reporter, hitting every step of the way. There were no shortcuts.

Now, 16 years later, as I write this from Kabul, I am, of course, covering some of the most extraordinary and surreal stories of recent times.

My journey with Al Jazeera has shown me a lot about the world; Witness history in construction, tragedy and endless politics.

It showed me the worst of humanity, but also the best; The Egyptian revolution since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in the wake of the Gaza war in 2014; The relocation of the US embassy in Jerusalem soon after the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the so-called “Treaty of the Century” in Libya; From Beirut when street protests erupted in 2019 after a devastating port explosion.

I reported from Mount Gorilla from Rwanda, and got exclusive access from the American Air Force to see the F16s being refueled in mid-air over the bay. I’ve traveled mostly to the Middle East, Afghanistan, Italy, Germany, Indonesia and the United States and covered Qatar’s wildlife resources in a half-hour documentary that many people didn’t know was in Qatar, at their doorstep.

It has been an incredible journey and continues.

Al Jazeera is a channel that still has a way and appetite to cover stories around the world, be it breaking news or the real pitch. We are often there first and only after the rest of the media is gone.

This is not to say that this work does not bring challenges. Nothing is ever perfect.

But Al Jazeera and Qatar, where I grew up as a journalist and as a person.

I am proud to be a part of this network, the work that we all do together and to be able to call Qatar home for so long.

Happy 25th Birthday, Al Jazeera. It still sounds so young





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