Al Jazeera America Got Its First Anchor and Twitter Account

The Atlantic Wire

It's a pretty big day at Al Jazeera America -- the company confirmed its first bold faced name hire, and set up a brand spanking social media account for the kids to follow along with at home. 

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TV Newser first reported Al Jazeera America hired Ali Velshi away from CNN to be their new business anchor. Velshi's been a member of the CNN family for 12 years, so the move was seen as a bit of a shock. "I wanted to be somewhere where there’s a real challenge to build the audience, to build the infrastructure, the whole thing," Valshi told The New York Times' Brian Stelter. Velshi will be greeted upon arrival with his own weekly "magazine style" show at Al Jazeera that they expect will expand to five-days-a-week once everything gets settled. Don't forget: the channel isn't even on the air yet. 

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No one knows when Al Jazeera Americawill debut on your TV yet, but for now "later this year" seems to be the going estimate. Al Jazeera bought Al Gore's Current TV for $100 million with the intention of really expanding into the American market. Unfortunately, they ran into some trouble after Time Warner immediately dropped Current from its lineup. Time Warner contends it was because Current didn't draw enough viewers, but most believe it was the criticisms the channel has faced. It launched as an Arab-only news network before expanding into other countries and languages, and has been accused of having an anti-American bent. It was just a coincidence that Time Warner made the move within hours of the sale being announced. There were whispers other cable companies were considering making the same decision, but nothing came of those reports. Those stereotypes still exist in some people, though, but Velshi isn't letting them bother him. "I think the product will trump any preconceived notions that people may have going into it," he told the Times.

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Elsewhere, the new channel set up a Twitter account on Thursday, too, to go along with the Facebook account they already had set up in January. They seem really happy to be here: 

Thanks for the warm welcome to Twitter. We look forward to sharing updates with you as we build #AlJazeeraAmerica from the ground up.

— Al Jazeera America(@ajam) April 4, 2013
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