CNN expands newsgathering operations in UAE

MUMBAI: Continuing its growth and investment in international newsgathering, CNN Worldwide has begun expansion in its operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This includes the appointment of a new international correspondent, a new bureau chief and the opening of an office with full broadcast and production capabilities in the capital city of Abu Dhabi.

The expanded operation in the UAE combines broadcast production facilities in the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, with increased newsgathering operations set up alongside an existing editorial team for the In addition to the expansion into Abu Dhabi, CNN also retains its base in Dubai, which has an increased newsgathering role for CNN alongside the main operation.

This expansion of operations in the UAE is instrumental in developing the network's coverage of the Gulf region and beyond, and supports current CNN bureaus in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo and Jerusalem.

As part of that expansion, a Middle-East correspondent for ABC News, Wilf Dinnick, becomes an international correspondent for CNN. Samson Desta, who becomes bureau chief, formerly worked as a supervising editor on CNN's International Desk.

CNN International executive VP, MD Tony Maddox says, "This is a major step forward for CNN as we ramp up our newsgathering capabilities around the world. Besides, the UAE is the perfect location for an operation of this kind both editorially and logistically. This announcement comes quickly on the heels of the details that we recently released about additional resources in India, Korea and Japan. In the coming weeks, we will announce new editorial operations in Africa and parts of Europe."

These new appointments and extended resources are all part of CNN's on-going and major investment programmes in both newsgathering and editorial resources to generate and own more content for all of its platforms.

As bureau chief, Samson Desta will be the co-ordinator of coverage from both offices and will oversee the building of the infrastructure in key countries in the region, notably Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Africa, as well as across the Middle East. Desta, who has been with CNN for more than 10 years, moves into this new role after serving as supervising editor on CNN's International Desk, where he played a central role in co-ordinating coverage around the world for all of CNN's networks and services. Major stories include international reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tsunami in South Asia and the death of Pope John Paul II.

Joining CNN as the new UAE-based international correspondent, Wilf Dinnick comes from ABC News, where he served as a Middle-East correspondent. Prior to that, he worked for Canada's Global National, CBC and CTV.

Dinnick has covered Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, the South Asia tsunami, Haiti, the Ukraine and many other top stories in recent years. He will support CNN's editorial needs across the region, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Africa and the Middle East.

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