AL JAZEERA MEDIA CAFE OPENS
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.