Newsnet Scotland: Scottish TV journalist making news in the desert for Al Jazeera


Andrew McFadyen, Scots-born programme editor at the international TV news channel Al Jazeera, reflects on a life in broadcast journalism and the Scottish newsroom diaspora

BILLY CONNOLLY once quipped that Drumchapel was a “desert wi’ windaes”.

Contemplating the lack of natural light in Al Jazeera’s newsroom, it occurs to me that I work in a “desert wi’ nae windaes”. The channel broadcasts to 240 million homes around the world from a building, in Doha, which looks like a big Nissen hut, with a blue corrugated iron roof.

We share the site with a family of stray cats, who have been adopted by the staff. One of them once walked along the top of the video wall, in full view of the cameras, while our Kiwi presenter Kamahl Santamaria was reading the news.

Like most newsrooms, the best thing about Al Jazeera is the people. On a daily basis, I work with a team including journalists and production staff from Scotland, England, New Zealand, Kenya, America, Canada, Pakistan, Ireland, Australia, Sudan, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq, India, Palestine and Jordan.

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Picture courtesy of Paul Keller