Qatar Today - - CULTURE -

Al Jazeera Net­work opened the doors to its media cafe, an in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence that would give visi­tors a taste of the global media chan­nel's history and oper­a­tions.

At the far end of Shake­speare Street in Katara stands the stark yet strik­ing struc­ture that houses the Al Jazeera Media Cafe, an eatery, a mu­seum, a stu­dio and an in­ter­ac­tive zone all rolled into one. One of the net­work's pre­sen­ters, Kamahl San­ta­maria, who gave us a tour of the fa­cil­ity, ex­plained that the cafe was an at­tempt by the chan­nel to reach out to its au­di­ences away from the stu­dio. Like visi­tors to Lon­don can opt for a tour of the BBC, those in Doha now can get a glimpse of what goes on be­hind the scenes of AJN. The cafe fea­tures mu­seum pieces like the doc­u­ments signed by HH the Fa­ther Emir Sheikh Ha­mad bin Khal­ifa Al Thani that es­tab­lished the chan­nel back in 1996; sur­viv­ing pieces of equip­ment from the at­tacks on AJN's bu­reaus in Afghanistan and Bagh­dad; letters writ­ten by cam­era­man Sami Al Hajj when he was de­tained in Guan­tanamo Bay for six years; and clothes worn by jour­nal­ists Tareq Ay­oub and Ali Has­san Al Jaber who died in the line of duty. In the in­ter­ac­tive stu­dio, visi­tors can film them­selves pre­sent­ing the news in a sim­u­lated news­room setup, com­plete with cam­eras and teleprompters, and make a dig­i­tal copy of it to take home. The net­work has said that anchors, media per­son­al­i­ties and mem­bers of man­age­ment will regularly hold meet-and-greet ses­sions at the cafe and also cer­tain shows will be­gin film­ing at the stu­dio in the cafe later this year.

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