LONDON: The new Middle East channel Asharq New’s leading anchor, Zeina Yazigi, believes the station, being run in an exclusive content agreement with Bloomberg, has a duty to “connect the world with the news and empower viewers.”
Speaking to Arab News ahead of the TV station’s launch, Yazigi said: “At Asharq, we know we can get news now basically everywhere, but we believe that it is our duty to connect the world and place this fact in its context. We believe in the power of context.
“This is what we would like to do at Asharq. This is our target, to empower viewers and users to have views — not any views, but views based on factual information.”
Yazigi, a veteran Syrian journalist, joined Asharq, a collaborator of Bloomberg in business news, after lengthy stints at Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia.
Asharq News’ digital platforms are centered around two main websites — general news and Asharq Business, which includes an exclusive content agreement with Bloomberg.
“Asharq Business with Bloomberg is a significant milestone in our continued global expansion strategy, allowing us to bring the best of Bloomberg's news, analysis and insight to Arab-speaking audiences across the Middle East for the first time,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group. “The network’s business content will be governed by the same high editorial standards that govern our own channels and will provide balanced, objective reporting on issues that are important to business decision makers across the region.”
The general news site comes with the added benefit of leveraging artificial intelligence to offer a unique and customised user experience., Yazigi explained.
“At Asharq, we’re not only a TV (channel) and we don’t just copy what we have on the screen and put it on digital platforms. We have totally separate news people and news staff working on the digital and our digital online platforms and social media,” she said.
“They provide material that is special to those platforms and also, being new, of course, we have an advantage that we are using advanced technology that will help the audience and users to find the news they’re looking for,” she said, adding that “actually, the news will find you due to that technique.”
While the station focuses on programs that deliver useful and relevant content for business opinion and policy leaders, Yazigi explains that it also takes into account the fact that most Arabic speakers are part of a younger generation under 25.
“At Asharq we believe that today’s youth like to think, they like to collect, to search, they like to understand and have their own views and perspectives, and they like these views to be heard. This is how we deal with the news and with the youth at Asharq,” she said.
Asharq News is a 24/7 multi-platform news service that brings content to users in the Arab region and the rest of the world, providing news and analysis, often through an economic prism.
Headquartered in Riyadh, with central offices in Dubai and Washington D.C, Asharq News also includes hubs in Abu Dhabi, and Cairo, with regional offices in Beirut, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Istanbul.
“We connect events, the news, what happened to why it happened. We look to its geographical setting and historical background, and also to the consequences that this specific news might have on everybody’s daily life,” Yazigi said.