Between November 2016 and March 2019, Kamahl Santamaria was the principal presenter of Al Jazeera’s daily interactive news programme newsgrid, which earned Al Jazeera English an International Emmy Award nomination in 2018.
He regularly co-hosted with social media producer Leah Harding, with the pair forming a popular on-air partnership since launching the show.
newsgrid uses four core elements of modern journalism – REPORT, LIVE, CONNECT, EXPLORE – to refocus the thinking on a story, and to extract as much value as possible from Al Jazeera’s field teams, online resources, and in-depth programmes.
It’s the first time one programme has reached across the Al Jazeera Media Network in such a way, and the first time a show has been simultaneously broadcast live on-air, as well as streamed on Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube, and at aljazeera.com
Rather than just presenting the news to Al Jazeera’s audience, newsgrid aims to engage them, seek questions and contributions from them, and above all listen to them to see where to drive the news agenda.
In addition, the traditional TV screen has been reworked to incorporate social media reaction and audience participation as a regular part of our storytelling, rather than an add-on.
As of mid-March 2019 newsgrid is on hiatus. Its return-date is yet to be announced.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 1, 2018
Kamahl represented Al Jazeera English at the 2018 News & Current Affairs Emmy Awards in New York, following newsgrid’s nomination in the International News category.
While newsgrid didn’t win - that honour went to Sky News for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis - the nomination was a tremendous achievement. newsgrid successfully went through a six month judging period, which included three elimination rounds, to reach the final four.
Kamahl accepted a nominee medal on behalf of the newsgrid team, and delivered a brief speech encouraging all journalists to keep demanding press freedom in the face of government obstruction.