Building the “Arab House”

Emad and Violette 1Here are some images from the last two days here in Jordan, as a host and crew from Jordan Television, others from a local production company, an anchor from the Lebanese Broadcasting Company, myself and two others from the International Center for Journalists, produced the host segments for a program called “Arab House.”

Emad at teleprompterThe program — known as Al Beit Al Arabi in Arabic — is a cooperative venture between the two broadcasters and each will present the four-part newsmagazine series during the month of February. Arab House was the brainchild of Carolyn Robinson, a friend and former CNN colleague, who based her idea on the World Report program on CNN. Taysir and Carolyn

The show presents news stories from both countries on major social issues affecting the Arab world.

I’m here as a Knight International Journalism Fellow (the same program that sent me to Egypt last year), for a month-long stint in Amman and Beirut. Carolyn has also been a Knight Fellow various times in places like East Timor and the Middle East.

Jordan TV Sound manCarolyn and I hatched the plan for my participation during a train ride from New York City to Princeton when we went to visit the campus last fall.

For the three-camera shoot we commandeered a local coffee shop with its rustic interior, and shushed the young folks smoking their bubbly pipes when their chatter got too loud.

Emad and Violette 2Yesterday, when the room got chilly, I put on my black beret and scarf and looked a little like Francis Ford Coppola as I directed the action.

One young girl who watched from a side table during the shoot came up to me afterwards and asked, with all earnestness and sincerity, “how can I be an actress?”

I’m having a blast, and it’s great to be back in this part of the world. Some of my handful of Arabic words are even coming back to me.

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