NEW YORK — This one comes as a shocker to many. Al Jazeera America will shut down on April 30 after a little more than two years on the air.
The news was announced at a sudden staff-wide meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Hundreds of staffers are expected to lose their jobs, although the exact number was not known.
“There are executives here in tears,” said one senior staffer.
Al Jazeera said it would not give up on the American market entirely. The memo indicated that the company plans to “expand its existing international digital services” in the United States, with more details to be released in the coming months.
The channel’s end appears to have been prompted by the plunging price of oil, which dropped below $30 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in 12 years. That’s significant because Al Jazeera America is owned by Al Jazeera Media Group, which in turn is owned by the government of Qatar.