Al Jazeera hires Michael Viqueira as White House correspondent

In the latest step toward the launch of Al Jazeera America, the network has named former NBC correspondent Michael Viqueira as its White House correspondent. 

Viqueira, who joined NBC News in 1998, will cover White House daily news briefings, all presidential events and trips and other White House news and events, the network said Wednesday. 

“Michael Viqueira is a seasoned national correspondent with deep experience covering Washington politics,” Ehab Al Shihabi, the senior executive in charge of developing Al Jazeera America, said in a statement. 

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Viqueira most recently reported on the White House for NBC's "Today" and won Emmys for his coverage of the financial crisis and the 2008 elections. 

The New York-based Al Jazeera America has not selected a president or set a launch date but has said it plans to debut this year.  

Its Qatar-based parent Al Jazeera acquired the cable network Current TV in January and is overhauling the channel.

Al Jazeera America is opening bureaus around the country in hopes of becoming a viable competitor to CNNMSNBC and Fox News. However, distribution may be an issue. The network will be at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. convention in Washington next week to make the rounds with distributors and promote the channel.

One distributor that the channel is in desperate need of a deal with is Time Warner Cable, which is the largest pay-TV company in New York and Los Angeles, the nation's two biggest TV markets.


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