MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and Washington-based website Al-Monitor.com have teamed-up to produce a series of Web video specials on Middle East politics titled Trendlines to be streamed on the PBS NewsHour website and on Al-Monitor as well as affiliated platforms including Youtube, Facebook and Roku.
The PBS NewsHour/Al-Monitor Trendlines Web series will kick off Thursday (Feb. 13) with a “Syria After Geneva 2” special examining the prospects of ending the country’s bloody civil war after a historic but reportedly largely unfruitful meeting of the Syrian government and opposition leaders.
While based in the U.S., Al-Monitor has a wide network of columnists, contributors, and experts on the ground in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, and also partnerships with two dozen regional publications.
Self-monikered “The Pulse of the Middle East,” the news website was founded in 2012 by Syrian-born entrepreneur Jamal Daniel, chairman of Huston-based Crest Entertainment, and has since rapidly risen to become regularly referenced in The Wall Street Journal, Time, Reuters, Le Monde, and The New York Times, among other outlets.
Incidentally, Daniel’s Levantine Entertainment film shingle executive produced Palestinian-American helmer Cherien Dabis’ culture clash dramedy “Amreeka.”
The approximately 15-18 minute Trendlines Web specials will be hosted by Emmy-award-winning Margaret Warner, who is PBS NewsHour’s top foreign affairs journo, and feature Al-Monitor voices from the Middle East, including columnists and writers.
In a statement Warner said she wants to “bring our American and worldwide web audiences insights they don’t usually hear, from observers living on the front lines in this tumultuous region.”
“The PBS NewsHour is the gold standard of broadcast news, and we are very pleased to begin this partnership with Margaret and her colleagues,” enthused Andrew Parasiliti, Editor and CEO of Al-Monitor.
According to the 2013 Erdos Morgan Opinion Leaders Survey, the PBS NewsHour is the third most watched news/public affairs show among U.S. based foreign policy decision makers – ahead of ABC and CBS daily newscasts and all cable news programs.