By Davidson Iriekpen
ARISE NEWS, a new 24-hour international television news operation, set to rival existing giants in the global market, will “soft launch” today after two days of test broadcasting.
ARISE NEWS, a sister company of THISDAY Newspaper, which will be broadcasting from its main news centres in London, New York, Johannesburg and Lagos, will have a strong African footprint and serve underserved communities in the United States and other parts of the world.
A statement Sunday by the management of the broadcasting station, said the station would also operate from eight bureaux around the globe stretching from Beijing to Rio de Janeiro.
A sister channel, ARISE 360, which will be entertainment-based with fashion, music, sports and pay per view films, will start broadcasting towards the end of the year, the management said.
The “arrival” of the network was announced by company executives in London and New York.
The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of ARISE NEWS and ARISE 360 is a leading African media entrepreneur, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, owner and publisher of the global glossy style, fashion and culture magazine, ARISE, and the publisher of several other titles including one of Nigeria's biggest and most influential daily newspapers, THISDAY.
Obaigbena said: “We will attract a global audience interested in emerging markets, developing countries and evolving politics. With headquarters and bureaux throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, we are ready to speak to our audience and give them a voice as well.
“We are a new international network established to reflect the new world order not hardwired to the old and built to reflect the modern way news is consumed. Nowhere is this more important than in the emerging economies.”
On the operations of the news network, he added: “There will be no state funding and no state agenda. Our coverage will be balanced, comprehensive and completely independent.
“Our efforts will concentrate on robust journalism anchored on imperatives of the marketplace.”
A former executive producer with ITN and Sky News and now International Head of Operations at ARISE NEWS, Rob Beynon, said a team of television news experts had been assembled from around the globe for the operation of the news network.
He said a “soft launch” today, would lead to a full-scale operations in March/April.
A former Vice-President of NBC News and Executive Producer with CBS America, Lyne Pitts, is heading the US operations from a vast studio complex in New York.
Ms. Pitts explained: “We want to present programming that truly reflects the voices of America, not just a small slice but the racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity of this country.
“From that perspective ARISE NEWS will cover all issues on education, health, politics and the criminal justice system. From Main Street to Wall Street, from the G8 to the Grammy's.”
Director of US News and Operations is the award-winning broadcaster Gary Anthony Ramsay who has covered conflicts from Kosovo to Iraq.
Nigerian-born John Chiahemen, a former Reuters Bureau Chief, has been appointed Managing Editor and Head of Africa.
David Glencorse, a former Sky News anchorman, international reporter and Royal Television Society award winner, is the Global Editorial Director of the company.
Nick Jennings, a former Head of International News at Sky News is Director of News and News Gathering, while Gavin Hill, until recently an award-winning ITV producer of documentaries, is Director of Features.
James Blue, formerly an Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer with ABC News Nightline and NBC Today has been appointed Director of Current Affairs and Special Projects based in Washington.
Said Blue: “We want to tell the untold story, the stories of achievement and celebration. So much is happening in the world of business and so much is happening in the world of culture and sports. We want to cover all of that and provide people with stories on our stations they would never see anywhere else.”
Jeff Koinange, an Emmy award-winning reporter and formerly CNN's star Africa reporter, will be based in Johannesburg as an anchorman and correspondent.
Debbye Turner-Bell, a former CBS correspondent (and former Miss America), will be a regular anchor for ARISE America.
South African-born Heather Scott, a former Sky News anchorwoman and business correspondent, will take on the role of roving anchor and correspondent, while Neil Stainsby, formerly a senior director with the BBC, has been appointed Global Lead Director across ARISE NEWS.
Also, Michael Wilson, formerly Business Editor with Sky News is Global Business and Economics Editor with ARISE NEWS.
He said: “We at ARISE NEWS see Africa as the new frontier and we know it is open for business. The markets feel the same.
“In the last decade, Africa's overall growth rates have quietly approached those of Asia.
“According to projections from the IMF, on the average, Africa will have the world’s fastest growing economy of any country over the next five years. ARISE News will uniquely cover the changing face of Africa with in depth analysis.”
ARISE NEWS was welcomed at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, by senior politicians and business leaders around the globe.
Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown said ARISE NEWS would give a boost to young people living in Africa.
“The future is in the hands of young Africans themselves. The more channels like yours that can make young people proud of Africa, the more we’ll see young people seizing the opportunity.”
Trevor Ncube, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Mail and Guardian Media Group in South Africa, said: “ARISE NEWS is the fulfilment of a dream we’ve had for some time. Unless we begin to tell our own story, we’ll continue to complain about the perceptions held about Africa in different parts of the world.”
African oil baron, Adewale Tinubu, said: “I think it’s wonderful that ARISE NEWS is launching. It’s a first class step in the right direction and a logical progression from THISDAY newspaper and ARISE magazine.”
ARISE NEWS will be live on cable, satellite, mobile devices, and the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Wherever and whenever there is a major breaking news story, we will cover it aggressively, especially on the under-reported continent of Africa,” said Global Editorial Director, David Glencorse.
“We will take advantage of the latest technology and social media to bring real-time interaction with newsmakers and news events. Our international focus is on global news and current affairs from a distinct perspective, while ARISE America will focus on US news and current affairs through the eyes of communities currently ignored by mainstream media,” he added.
ARISE News will offer advertisers a unique reach amongst an affluent and influential audience.
Following the test broadcasts of last Thursday and Friday, the “soft launch” phase which begins today, will lead to a full broadcast operation in March.
ARISE News is broadcasting across Europe on SKY Channel 234. The company is currently negotiating other major distribution deals across the globe.