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So just who is going to watch Al Jazeera with its 800 journalists?

Things are different in America - still. Despite all the togetherness of the internet and super-easy air travel, you can even today be surprised (for good or ill) at what's going across the Atlantic. This blog, borrowing its title from the legendary Alistair Cooke, aims to keep you in the picture about things you might not otherwise know.

America has seen a lot of money splashed about recently on big media buys - $70 million for the Boston Globe; $250 million for the Washington Post.

But no buy is bigger and more quixotic than Al Jazeera America. The ruler of Qatar plonked down $500 million for Al Gore's dismal cable channel Current TV to rename it .

This week Al Jazeera America got under way with mind-blowing ongoing expenditure - 12 news hubs to be created across America, around 700 to 800 journalists being hired.

After all this, the most the Guardian could come up with by way of praise was " it's the news channel Americans deserve . . . It is something entirely new to cable news: it is considered.' (their italics).

For the life of me, I can't imagine who is going to watch it . Not because of Glenn Beck's comment that it is "the voice of the enemy" ; no, simply cause it seems worthy but dull. One friend suggested it was to be a cross between American PBS (public broadcasting) and the BBC. There seemed nothing different enough to make me want to jump ship from CBS.

The programme makers have eschewed all that personality pap that the other channels use to leaven their diet, not seeming to realise that it's the mix that makes TV news watchable.

AJ is said to be going into 40 million cable homes, less than half those in the US and much reduced by AT&T and Time Warner baling out of their respective deals.

And of course that doesn't mean 40 million viewers ; Piers Morgan on CNN gets on a very good night a million viewers and it's hard to see AJ beating that. No-one in the press office was available to talk about early figures.

Journalists I spoke to welcomed the jobs created but one BBC contact bemoaned the loss of Al Jazeera English on the internet.

Al Jazeera has built a solid reputation in the Middle East and elsewhere for its news reporting. The presentation in the US is very professional. But it's hard to see those two pluses swaying the many AmerIcans who still link the station to Osama Bin Laden's rhetoric in the past.

I will let you know how things are going once I drag myself away from Scott Pellew and his team on CBS. I will be happy to eat my words.

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