Friday, 30 May 2008

Not that regular

My blog isn't as active as perhaps it ought to be, and for that I blame an overload in the office and far too little time to concentrate on putting my thoughts to keyboard as I should.

So, bear with me...I'll put more effort into adding entries to this in the coming weeks.

For now, back to the piles on my desk!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

In Search of Inspiring Talent

AIB has just launched its fourth annual search for the best in international broadcasting. I thought I'd explain why.

On the face of it, you might think there are quite a lot of award ceremonies out there already. Some of them have become somewhat predictable. But that’s because they are award ceremonies that have become national television shows. Producers in the wings are more interested in what people on stage look like, and policing prize winners to say no more than 10 seconds of “thank you’s”.

We’ve also seen some awards turn into a gong factory, by having hundreds of categories, to the point where there seems to be a prize for the most creative use of punctuation. The law of averages means that if you win nothing, the programme must have been really awful.

And yet there seems to be no-one, apart from the AIB, taking a serious interest in the profession of international broadcasting, where people are trying to share ideas across borders. This is very easy to do badly. It is actually extremely difficult to do well. And in these uncertain times, there’s a chance of being misunderstood or having a message taken out of context.

In my travels as AIB CEO, I have been inspired by people who have that talent to communicate cross border and cross culturally. They are often the unsung heroes in organisations, partly because what they do is not consumed locally. They don’t get the sort of family feedback enjoyed by people working in national radio and TV stations.

Yet the world would be a much poorer place without their daily contributions to society. I believe the AIB Awards have created the right atmosphere to celebrate real success and shine the spotlight in places currently in the shade.

Interested in taking part yourself? Check out

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

All change at Al Jazeera English

The top management at Al Jazeera English - the Doha-based news channel - is changing. Nigel Parsons who oversaw the launch of the channel as its managing director is moving to a new post within Al Jazeera Network, succeeded by Tony Burman, former head of news at CBC until he stepped down last year.

Meanwhile, Sue Phillips, the London bureau chief, has been promoted to head up all AJE's international bureaux which currently number just under 70 worldwide, making Al Jazeera one of the world's largest TV newsgathering organisations. Sue will be bringing the Arabic and English bureaux together to cover news stories more effectively, while maintaining the distinct editorial agendas that the two TV news channels have.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The sun's shining in Abu Dhabi...

...but I'm indoors! The reason: the third annual Arab Broadcast Forum taking place in the Emirates Palace Hotel. This event draws together key media leaders in the Middle East region for two days of debate about the broadcast news industry.

A good range of AIB members are here: Russia Today TV, Al Hurra, EuroNews, DW-TV, France 24 - all planning to meet local media executives in the Middle East and to discuss issues facing electronic media in the region.

It's a great time for media in the region. Here in Abu Dhabi, a new newspaper has been launched. The National is really breaking the mould as it's the first paper in the UAE not to carry a front page picture of one of the ruling family. Abu Dhabi is also building a media city that could attract media houses from neighbouring Dubai. Interesting time.