Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Inept Al Jazeera says 'everyone has a story worth hearing' - yet ironically completely fails to communicate its own.

Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) is apparently so trashy cheap or devoid of actual marketing intelligence that for the launch of its biggest marketing campaign to date in Johannesburg, the 24-hour TV channel was still to hopelessly hapless to even tell South Africa's TV critics that it's happening.

Hilariously Al Jazeera wants publicity for its marketing roll-out, but fails to communicate and to communicate properly.

Al Jazeera's Abdulla Alnajjar, the news channel's executive director for marketing and distribution, is quick to say that "Al Jazeera puts the human being at the centre of its news agenda".

Sadly Al Jazeera isn't giving any thought to the human beings known as TV critics.

I just shake my head at the ineptitude and incompetence.

Al Jazeera launched some new marketing push at Turbine Hall in Johannesburg on Monday but couldn't even tell the very few journalists, columnists and critics covering television in South Africa about it.

Of course I and other national TV critics were not good enough to be invited, nor even to be briefed beforehand that it would be happening(which is often all that's needed).

Yet Al Jazeera seems to be expecting coverage of its event - and in an ongoing fashion, exposure of, and coverage of its programming.

Al Jazeera wants to compete with other big 24-hour TV news channels but doesn't seem to know how to reach out and involve and communicate and build actual relationships with the press and stakeholders. At least that's my perception.

I've asked several other South African TV critics if they've ever heard from, spoken with, or met anybody from Al Jazeera English, either from Africa, in South Africa, or when Al Jazeera executives, representatives or PR people visit South Africa. The answer? No.

Abdulla Alnajjar says that "there is a common perception that the media are mainly interested in covering those in power, or the rich and famous. Our campaign gives a voice to the many people around the world who feel that they have been left behind."

Well, South Africa's TV critics certainly feel "left behind" by Al Jazeera. But lets not dwell. The irony is that there's journalists who don't want to cover those in power, or the rich or the famous, but who would like to cover Al Jazeera.

Tragically the news channel doesn't seem to care about that.

Al Anstey, the managing director of Al Jazeera English says "we believe everyone has a story worth hearing".

Interestingly, Al Jazeera itself has a story and stories worth hearing - but doesn't care to engage with the journalist and TV critics and story tellers to tell its stories, like the latest embarrassing Al Jazeera marketing launch clearly shows.

In a multi TV news channel environment maybe Al Jazeera will one day realise it needs to communicate, and who with.

And maybe have some internal revelation as to maybe why it matters.