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Ayman Mohyeldin: ‘I always felt myself [to be] an ambassador from the Middle East to the United States’

Former Al Jazeera English reporter turned NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin is interviewed by Columbia Journalism Review about his decision to switch networks. Interestingly, the CJR interviewer is Dave Marash, who had been AJE’s lead Washington anchor, before leaving due to what he said was an inherent bias in its reporting.

Mohyeldin tells Marash what he hopes to accomplish at NBC News, as well as what the big differences between the companies are:

As an Arab-American, a part of me wants to speak to the global audience, and a part of me wants to speak to America.

Now obviously, having grown up in America, and spent a lot of time here, America is much closer to my heart, and the American audience is much closer to my heart. All the years I spent in high school and college in the US, everything I did, even on a one-on-one level with my friends, was always reporting to them about what the reality of the situation is on the ground. So in essence I always felt myself [to be] an ambassador from the Middle East to the United States. But at the same time whenever I was in the Middle East, whenever I was in Gaza, whenever I was anywhere else, I was an ambassador of America to this part of the world. And when people would see me and see the opportunities that I had in the US and I would tell them and describe to them what life was really like in America, their misperceptions about America changed. So this was the ultimate platform in doing what has always been something that I did on a personal level. It was now the ability to do it on a massive, million-viewer [laughs] platform on a daily basis, through msnbc.com, through MSNBC, Nightly, Meet The Press, the Today Show, what have you.

You can read the entire Q&A here.

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