From 1996-2001, Out There News captured the imagination of Net users in more than 70 countries by reinventing the way world news was reported for digital media. John West and I started in John’s attic in the East End of London and built a network of 41 correspondents in 32 countries. Our reports and multimedia documentaries featured on the Net’s biggest portals – America Online and Yahoo! – and on the UK’s biggest cable network, ntl.
Revenue dried up in the recession of 2001 and we had to cut back. John left to develop a network of radio stations in Afghanistan and I moved into television production, concentrating on the Middle East and Islamic issues.
When the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003, I helped to produce Channel 4 News’s coverage from Baghdad and recruited an Iraqi team which charted the country’s descent into sectarian civil war and slow recovery. Out There News made more than 40 short films from Iraq for Channel 4 News and produced several longer documentaries on stories across the Middle East and further afield for Channel 4, BBC and Al Jazeera. We also helped Iraqi journalists to create an independent national news agency, Voices of Iraq, which survived until 2017.
Out There News made its last film in 2010, when I joined Al Jazeera’s English channel as Director of Programmes.