I’ve never watched Al Jazeera before, but yesterday I tuned in to watch the revolution occurring in Egypt.

I have never seen live coverage of an event like Al Jazeera is doing right now. This is what live news coverage should be.

What they are doing right:

  • Live camera shots – no break away – I watched live as people ran away from an armoured carrier. And I was still watching live when the people stopped running, turned around, and chased that armoured carrier off the bridge.
  • They stopped going for commercial breaks to continue live coverage
  • There is no ridiculous CNN’isms – they aren’t interrupting their coverage to toss it back to numb-brained idiots at a desk to recap, show large scale maps, and “set the scene”. Most people they interview or consult are not even shown, only their voices are heard over the coverage. Sometimes when they show a person they are interviewing, they only put that person’s live feed on the left 1/3rd of the screen and continue with their live shots on the right hand side. They showed brief maps, just to show where the 7 cities where protests were occurring, and to show a map of Cairo to show where their live shots were coming from. Just enough for someone like me with minimal knowledge of Egypt, to be able to get a sense of what I was watching.
  • They are showing live footage, rather than ripping it apart into sound bits on a never ending rotation. I watched while people were run over by the armoured carriers, I was watching when people were overcome by tear gas and collapsed to the street. I was watching while people picked them up and carried them to safety.
  • Show footage as soon as they can – Live video coverage was coming from Cairo and the protests in the other 6 Egyptian cities was restricted mostly to voice overs when they could. There was great difficulty getting video uploaded since communications were shut down around the country. But whenever any of their reporters was able to upload some video they showed their viewers what was happening in other cities.

I saw the reporter who did most of the talk-over from Cairo once when his videographer got him in the shot. It seemed to just be the two of them, hiding out in their office. They were perched in the window, sharing with the world what was happening in Cairo, and continued even when the police were in the building, trying to stop all live coverage.

I saw amazing things yesterday that will change my life forever. People of all ages gathered on the streets. Men dropping to their knees, in lines, to pray. Police hitting them with water canons as they prayed.

It’s a country who said enough is enough, and they seem set to stay on the streets until the regime of Mumbarak is over.

If you want to watch Al Jazeera today – you can stream it online – http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/