Sheila MacVicar latest hire for Al Jazeera

NEW YORK (AP) — Sheila MacVicar, a longtime London-based correspondent for American television networks, is the latest hire at Al Jazeera America.

The news network that plans to launch next month and has been hiring personnel for offices in New York and Washington, and on Monday announced MacVicar’s job. Other contributors include former CNN anchors Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi.

MacVicar started her career in Canada and worked for ABC, CNN and CBS News. She left CBS in 2010 for some consultancy work, following her husband to a job in Paris. Her husband transferred a year ago to Washington, giving MacVicar the opportunity to report on a country she has largely watched from a distance during her career.

Her reports will appear on “America Tonight,” a five-day-a-week newsmagazine that is being modeled after “Nightline” during Ted Koppel’s era.

The opportunity to work for a news organization she respects at a time of expansion proved intriguing, MacVicar said.

“The one thing we will not be reporting very much on is what the Kardashians are doing and that, I think, is very refreshing,” MacVicar said. “I think there is a real market for this.”

She said she was surprised moving to the United States at the extent of opinion instead of journalism on TV news. She said that “I like to get my hands dirty” digging up facts, so the new network seemed a good place for her.

MacVicar said she had read about, but had no firsthand knowledge of, problems involving Al Jazeera coverage of Egypt. Several Al Jazeera journalists there resigned last week, claiming the network had been biased in its coverage toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I wouldn’t have signed my contract if I did not believe I would have editorial independence,” she said. “If at any point somebody suggests that I should be reporting a certain story in a particular way because it would serve someone’s interests, then I would be out the door. And not quietly.”


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