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As journalists, we've all been there - the incredible excitement and sheer adrenaline rush of being involved in a major event. I can't claim to have reported on a revolution, but having covered everything from an aircraft hijacking to a miners' strike and major sporting events, I can empathise with the desire to let just a little emotion creep into one's reporting.
With it's core audience and coverage focused on the Middle East, I chose to watch Al Jazeera English TV's coverage of the events in Tahrir Square in Cairo as President Hossni Mubarak stood down as President, the culmination of a true people's revolution, a revolution initiated and played out across social media as well as the global media networks.
Reporters covering the emotional events ranged from established, network journalists such as Andrew Simmonds, to young, Al Jazeera regular reporters. In every case their reports were accompanied by a constant soundtrack of public celebration as they tried to remain as objective as possible.
As I commented in a recent blog about objectivity versus personal agendas for journalists, it was interesting to watch the Al Jazeera team - many of them Egyptians - trying to contain their personal views.
Unlike the BBC, Al Jazeera's anchorman (and ex-BBC reporter), Adrian Finighan, was quite open about asking his reporters to remove their journalistic 'hats' and speak from a personal perspective about how the felt about the scenes they were witnessing.
While most, professional to the end, would only be drawn a little about giving their opinions, there was a wonderful insight from Rawya Rageh when she said that "I was born 30 years ago, the week President Mubarak came to power” and went on to talk about the implications of the revolution and how difficult it was to contain her excitement.
She was not alone and with input from a range of guests, some of them bordering on the hysterical, it made for a refreshingly, uninstitutionally vibrant approach to making news. It may have been a bit less objective, but it sure made a change.
Published 11th February, 2011