Ray Suarez lands at Al Jazeera America, will host 'Inside Story'
Former “PBS Newshour” chief national correspondent Ray Suarez has joined Al Jazeera America as the anchor of “Inside Story.” Suarez joins AJAM November 11, after 14 years at the “NewsHour.”
“Inside Story” is AJAM’s daily news-analysis program, attempting to look beyond the headlines of the day.
Suarez tendered his resignation at the public TV news program a few weeks ago, generating controversy when he told Fox News Latino: “I felt like I didn’t have much of a future with the broadcast. (They) didn’t have much of a plan for me.”
“PBS NewsHour” has been attempting to transform itself over the last year as it has struggled to attract corporate underwriters. The program closed bureaus and laid off staffers, while also naming Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as the permanent co-anchors. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions has been trying to sell the show to WETA, the Washington public television member station.
“This is an exciting time to be joining Al Jazeera America and a great opportunity for me personally,” Suarez said in a statement. “This is exactly what I wanted to do: host a program that provides viewers with a close look at the day’s news and the issues they care about the most without the partisan rancor that you often see and hear elsewhere on television.”
UPDATE: During a conference call with reporters organized by Al Jazeera America, Suarez talked a little more about why he decided to jump to cable news after spending nearly two decades on the public airwaves.
“I was starting to get a little restless, and starting to look around at what else was out there in the environment for somebody like me, somebody who still had some juice, and still wanted to run around and work in a high-stress, high-pressure job but also wanted to work in a place that sounded like it was a good fit,” Suarez said.
He began talking to AJAM in August, and the two sides inked a deal last week. Libby Casey, who had been hosting “Inside Story” in addition to working as Capitol Hill correspondent, will focus all of her attention on reporting on Congress.
“Obviously it is going to differ from PBS, and that’s ok,” Suarez said. “Media should not be perceived like a one-item-on-the-menu restaurant; it is a smorgasbord, and we don’t assume that the audience gets its news from just one place.”