Ray Suarez on Al Jazeera America Gig, PBS Departure: ‘It Was Getting Tough to Hang In’

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“If you weren’t one of the anchors, you weren’t getting the prominent interviews … I had to go” Suarez tells TheWrap

When Ray Suarez opens his first episode of “Inside Story” for Al Jazeera America on Nov. 11, it’ll be the culmination of his long journalism career, he told TheWrap.

“Everything I’ve done for the last 20 years has been leading up to this,” Suarez said.

It’ll also be a chance for Suarez to do the kind of work he wasn’t able to do at “PBS NewsHour,” which he left in October after 14 years. Suarez said he wasn’t happy with the lack of opportunities on the show.

Also read: Former PBS Journalist Ray Suarez Joins Al Jazeera America

“‘NewsHour’ is a one-show operation and it holds its high cards very tightly in its fist,” Suarez said. “If you weren’t one of the anchors, you weren’t getting the prominent interviews and you weren’t getting the top story. And to be locked out of that after 14 years was not a good situation for me, so I had to go.”

(“NewsHour” told TheWrap that Suarez was given plenty to do on the show, saying “he was assigned to lead the ‘NewsHour”s global health coverage, he made significant contributions to CPB’s American Graduate Project and his decision to leave came just as we were re-launching the program in a new format that would feature him as the Chief National Correspondent, reflecting his important and frequent contributions to the program.”)

Also read: TCA: Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff Named Co-Anchors of PBS ‘Newshour’

There’s also the matter of Al Jazeera America’s significantly larger budget and vast resources, something Suarez noted “NewsHour” couldn’t compete with.

“Frankly, it’s not living hand to mouth as the ‘NewsHour’ was and is,” Suarez said.

“Everyone at the ‘NewsHour’ has the highest regard for Ray,” a spokeswoman for the show told TheWrap. “We are sad to see him go and wish him the best of luck in his new ventures.”

Suarez told TheWrap that, as host of “Inside Story,” he’ll get to delve into news topics, giving attention to stories that may have been undercovered otherwise and taking a closer look at the overarching story of the week.

Also read: Al Jazeera America Exposes Corruption Investigation of California State Legislator

He’ll also get the chance to appear on the network in other capacities, he said, reporting on topics such as Washington, D.C., the widening wealth gap in between classes both in America and worldwide, and urban areas. Suarez said he’s especially excited to take advantage of Al Jazeera’s resources both in America and abroad.

“It’s got bureaus all over the world, it’s got reporters and bureaus all over the United States,” Suarez said. “It’s just a better fit for me. It was getting pretty tough to hang in at the ‘NewsHour.'”