Al Jazeera America Staffs Up With Latino Journos

As it prepares for its Aug. 20 debut, Al Jazeera America has named several correspondents, hosts, special contributors and digital editors at its 12 bureaus, several of whom are Latino.

Recent additions include former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien (pictured) as special correspondent, who will contribute to short-form segments on evening news program America Tonight.

Al Jazeera America also hired former ABC News host Antonio Mora as host of Consider This, a weeknight current affairs talk show, and Julio Ricardo Varela, founder of the site Latino Rebels, as digital producer for The Stream, a social-media community.

In anticipation of its upcoming launch, Al Jazeera America hosted a Google Hangout on Aug. 5, inviting potential viewers to weigh in on stories and angles to be tackled by the network’s news and current-affairs programs. Among the most debated topics: Whether news coverage should be extended to foreign and not just domestic issues.

Among O’Brien’s first assignments for America Tonight is a documentary series about Haiti.

 “We’re going to be digging into what’s really happening in the country; we’re going to do more investigative reporting; and old-fashioned journalism,” she said during the one-hour hangout hosted by Azmat Khan, America Tonight’s digital producer.

Al Jazeera America is headquartered in New York.