Continuing its major growth and investment in international newsgathering, CNN Worldwide has begun expansion in its operations in the United Arab Emirates, which 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, it was announced today by Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director for CNN International.
The expanded operation in the United Arab Emirates combines broadcast production facilities in the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone with increased newsgathering operations set up alongside an existing editorial team for the CNNArabic.com Web site. 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 CNNArabic.com operation.
This expansion of operations in UAE is key to 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, Wilf Dinnick, most recently a Middle East correspondent for ABC News, becomes an international correspondent for CNN; and Samson Desta, formerly a supervising editor on CNN’s International Desk, becomes bureau chief.
“This is a major step forward for CNN as we ramp up our newsgathering capabilities around the world. Besides, the United Arab Emirates is the perfect location for an operation of this kind both editorially and logistically,” Maddox said. “This announcement comes quickly on the heels of the details we recently released about additional resources in India, Korea and Japan, and 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 program in both newsgathering and editorial resources in order to generate and own more content for all of its platforms.
As bureau chief, Samson Desta will be the coordinator 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, 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 coordinating coverage around the world for all of CNN’s networks and services. Major stories include international reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism 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 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, 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.