Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 28-09-2011 Key components of Sky News Arabia's editorial team are now in place, amid a recruitment drive that has so far sourced 70 full time employees for the Middle East's latest 24 hour Arabic language news service, set for a multi-platform launch next spring.
Joining the Sky News Arabia editorial elite is Yasser Thaber as director of output, and Pierre Kesserwani, director of newsgathering. They will work alongside the already anointed director of news, Nart Bouran, in establishing the editorial stance of the 50:50 joint venture between BSkyB and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's private investment company, Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation.
Thabet joins Sky News Arabia from Al Arabiya, where he held the post of programme editor for four years. Prior to Al Arabiya, he worked for Al-Hurra in the US and Al Jazeera in Qatar. Meanwhile, Kesserwani joins Sky News Arabia from BBC Arabic in the UK, where he spent four years running the newsgathering desk and liaising with the planning and interview departments.
Sky News Arabia says another 100 people are 'under mobilisation' and 'joining shortly', and that it aims to recruit a further 200 staff to its facility at Abu Dhabi's twofour54 media zone by the end of this year.
"We take our approach to recruitment very seriously and we have spared no effort in seeking out the very best talent in the region," said Nart Bouran.
The broadcaster now claims to have received over 12,000 applications for 370 advertised vacancies.
"Both Sky News and the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation have demonstrated their continued commitment while our organisation starts to take shape. We are very confident in the senior editorial team's ability to fulfil their role and help us deliver an Arabic news channel designed for an Arabic audience," added Bouran.
A local graduate internship programme is also being developed by Sky News Arabia to offer placements to aspiring journalists from 2012.
On the technical side, a contract to supply news room video servers has recently been awarded to EVS, while Harris /Omneon will provide playout automation technology for the news channel. Systems integration continues to be provided by TSL.
Sky News Arabia will be transmitted in both high definition (HD) and standard definition free-to-air across the Arab world. It will also be available in the UK on the Sky satellite platform.