In the thick of it at Al Jazeera TV


A FORMER Royal Latin School student who is now working for a major television news station has shared his experiences of being in the thick of it in the Middle East.

Cameraman, lighting and sound engineer Marcus McNulty, aged 24 – the son of Advertiser photographer Jake – started working for Al Jazeera as a multi-skilled operator last year in Doha, in Qatar.

The region has become the focus of intense media attention over the past few months following protests in Tunisia and Egypt, which resulted in the resignation of those countries’ leaders. Since then the situation has spread throughout the Middle East, with protests in Bahrain and now Libya.

Although things are relatively peaceful in Qatar, Al Jazeera has been at the forefront of international coverage of events.

Speaking to the Advertiser this week, Mr McNulty said there had been a flurry of activity at the station since it had kicked off.

He said: “We do have a lot more security at work. My car gets searched and they search my bag. Bahrain is only over the sea – they are our nearest neighbours and they are having some trouble.”

He added: “We are a lot busier now as a channel. We have broadcast centres in different parts of the world including Kuala Lumpur, Washington DC and London.

“We would broadcast in Doha during the day and several hours in other centres during the night, but now we are 24/7 in Doha and we have a lot of extra staff.

“Being in the thick of it has been quite exciting, especially seeing all the news as it comes out.

“The biggest reaction we have had in the studio so far was when Mubarak stepped down in Egypt. I had just started my shift and it was a little bit like a film.

“Everyone was quiet and there was a hush in the studio. All the producers were looking at the television screens at the speech. Then there was suddenly a flurry of activity.”

But, he added, all the activity in the Middle East had become a normal part of everyday life now and the station had been reporting on other world events such as the Japanese earthquake.