Qatar-backed Al Jazeera America has closed its sports unit and laid off “a few dozen” freelancers who were hired last summer ahead of the channel’s launch last summer. Full time staffers are also affected and reports suggest that the channel’s sports coverage was surplus to requirements.
The same argument applies to its on-screen social media coverage. The Stream, which had been a nightly show (at 7.30pm EST) but which will now be reduced to a weekly show. The Stream is transmitted from Washington’s Newseum facility.
Al Jazeera America launched last August having taken over the assets of Current TV. Sister channel beIN Sports has been present in the US since 2012. When Al Jazeera America launched, it hired around 400 new staff as well as absorbing most of the Current TV employees.