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Al Jazeera America Announces Closing

FILE - This Aug. 20, 2013 file photo shows Al-Jazeera America editorial newsroom staff preparing for their first broadcast in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Al Jazeera America Announces Closing
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Al Jazeera America, the three-year-old cable news channel that promised to cover in-depth journalism in the U.S., is closing.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera media company plans to end Al Jazeera America operations by April 30.

Company officials announced the closing in an email to employees Tuesday. Al Jazeera America head Al Anstey explained the decision in the email. He said the business was not “sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.” He praised the work done by the news outlet.

The royal family of Qatar owns Al Jazeera. In 2012, the media company bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million. It launched Al Jazeera America in 2013. AJAM, as it is called, has suffered from low ratings since it opened. Some experts say the broadcaster’s Arab name hurt it in the United States. Some cable companies would not even carry Al Jazeera America.

Recently, AJAM aired a documentary alleging that famous American athletes had used performance-enhancing drugs. Those named included football player Peyton Manning and baseball player Ryan Howard. Both denied the reports and threatened to sue the cable network.

Al Jazeera America never publicly released ratings information. But industry experts say the network never reached even 100 million viewers. It has been losing large amounts of money every year. The financial situation has worsened as a result of low oil prices.

Al Jazeera says it will expand its digital operations to maintain a strong presence in the United States.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Are you surprised that Al Jazeera America is closing? Post your thoughts in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words and Their Stories

channel - n. a television or radio station​

sustainable - adj. able to last or continue for a long time​

challenge - n.a difficult task or problem: something that is hard to do​

alleging - v. to state without definite proof that someone has done something wrong or illegal​

sue - v. to take legal action against