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Al Jazeera America Launching Seattle Bureau with KING Veteran


One of Al Jazeera America's first bureaus will be located in Seattle, the network announced Tuesday. And taking the helm for Pacific Northwest news is former KING 5 reporter and news anchor Allen Schauffler, who said goodbye to local TV news on Friday. 

Al Jazeera America established the Seattle bureau, one of 12 U.S. bureaus to launch Aug. 20, to cover Pacific Northwest news—stories that are often underrepresented in national TV outlets, according to Schauffler. The veteran journalist who worked at Seattle's KING for nearly 21 years will be the bureau's first correspondent. 

"What we want to do is generate news all around the country, for people all around the country," Schauffler said. "That means getting out of the Red Carpet crap in L.A., and the [partisan] screaming on national stations about public affairs in Washington, and just getting out the American stories."

Schauffler said he plans to pursue stories unique to the region, such as Washington's legalization of marijuana and the dam removal at the Elwha River. The Pacific Northwest has stories that the rest of the country doesn't have, he said. 

Marcy McGinnis, Al Jazeera America's senior vice-president of newsgathering, said on Al Jazeera America's website that the network wanted to have its bureaus strategically placed throughout the country to report on a wide variety of local, state, and regional stories. 

"Seattle is an economic, cultural, and technological center for the United States," McGinnis said in a press release. "Our Seattle bureau will allow us to report firsthand and in-depth on the news and events happening in the Pacific Northwest."

Although Schauffler said he is overwhelmed by the prospects of covering the entire region, it's also a refreshing change for him. 

"The range of things that I had the opportunity to experience and cover ... was just amazing," Schauffler said. "But it was 21 years. It was time to do something different."

Because Al Jazeera America has to cater to a broader, national audience, Scauffler said he doesn't see the channel competing with local TV stations like KING 5. Other bureaus will be in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, and D.C.

So far Al Jazeera America has only hired three full-time employees based in Seattle: Schauffler, a photographer and a producer. Al Jazeera America will also pay for freelancers on a need basis.