Talal al-Haj, Al Arabiya’s man at the U.N., on how to get the scoop

No day is the same in the working life of Talal al-Haj, Al Arabiya News Channel’s bureau chief for New York and the United Nations.

“As you know, in our business, you cannot schedule the news,” he said. “Every day is different and that is the beauty of our job”.

Al-Haj has interviewed famous names ranging from George W. Bush to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat; he holds the record for the greatest number of sit-down interviews with the current U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Al-Haj says that one frustration of the job is that officials from Arab nations are often the most tight-lipped in their dealings with journalists.

“We don't have any background information from the Arab missions. We rely on foreign missions to get our information,” said al-Haj. “We would have liked to see more participation by Arab missions in engagement with the Arab press here at the United Nations.”

Al-Haj spoke to Inside the Newsroom prior to the General Assembly at the U.N. Despite securing interviews with senior politicians and diplomats during his career, al-Haj cautions that journalists must always be ready to fight for the next big story.

“We have to keep scooping the others every day - you're as good as your last report,” he said.


Watch Talal al-Haj’s interviews from the U.N.:

Jeffrey D. Feltman, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.’s special representative to Syria

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs

John W. Ashe, president of the U.N. General Assembly

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:40 - GMT 06:40
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