Continuing to ramp up for its late summer launch, Al Jazeera America announced the hire of four news anchors.
The New York City-based cable news network will be available in some 50 million households starting in late August. Its parent company, Al Jazeera Media Network, purchased Current TV in January for $500 million.
The new network expects to have a staff of 800 at launch and will have a dozen bureaus including Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Nashville and New Orleans.
The new hires are: Jonathan Betz, Richelle Carey, Morgan Fogarty and Del Walters. While a reporter for WWL-TV Channel 4 in New Orleans, Betz spearheaded the station's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, winning a Peabody Award for the team.
Carey hails from Atlanta and worked for seven years as a reporter and anchor for CNN. Fogarty was a lead anchor at WCCB News in Charlotte, N.C.; and Walters has won more than 20 Emmys during nearly 20 years serving as an anchor and investigative reporter for WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.
Media watchers speculate that Al Jazeera America's biggest hurdle in the United States will be overcoming a perception held by some that the government of Qatar-funded news organization is anti-American.
Al Jazeera America has made a number of major hires of late. They include signing former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien as a special correspondent, and signing investigative journalist and former ABC reporter Lisa Fletcher to host the news show "The Stream."
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