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This was a week when some international broadcasters came of age while others began to show theirs. Winners began to emerge, meaning someone had to lose. Some broadcasters stepped out of the shadows to participate in the big dance. And new startups set out to take on the world's most familiar satellite news channels.

At the BBC, news editors and writers decided to cast away their policy stylebook to do it their own way on the morning of the London bombings and use the word "terrorism" to describe what had happened. But 12 hours later they backed off.

LOS ANGELES, July 13 - Nothing fascinates media as much as, well, media.

That is the lasting impression after an extended visit to New Zealand and Australia, which boast world-class commercial, public service and international broadcasters and first-rate newspapers. But looking at America through South Pacific lenses, the focus more often than not seemed on American media.

WASHINGTON, July 12 - There's truly no business like show business.

That old song title was reinforced during a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand, where coverage of the U.S. was frequent, detailed and prominently played. But the lens through which America was presented to the South Pacific was not Wall Street or Capitol Hill.

Al-Jazeera-America is coming to town, heading straight for your living room.

Its executives, from their headquarters in the tiny Middle East gulf state of Qatar, have held preliminary talks in the U.S. with cable operators about carrying the channel's new English-language service, expected to debut early next year.

Egyptian-born Dina Habib Powell says America must listen if it wants to be understood abroad. But first she must get people to listen to her.

AMMAN, JORDAN - JUNE 28, 2005

This op-ed piece was originally published on the Daily Star on June 28, 2005. The Daily Star is published in Beirut, and it is the "insert" paper that comes folded inside every copy of the International Herald Tribune published in the Middle East (except Ha'aretz in Israel). -- the Editor

So Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is not Iran's new president. That result must come as a particular surprise to anyone who tried to follow the campaign by light of the Western media.

It's time to reinvent U.S. government international broadcasting - again. But this time, let's get it right and privatize this operation.

What's hot in public diplomacy?
Answer: C-SPAN, but of course.

What's not?
Answer: Everything else.

An exaggeration, perhaps, but there's no denying that the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), which provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of Congress, press briefings, newsmaker speeches, public policy discussions, and much more, is mentioned more than anything else nowadays by those recognized as in the know who are trying to help "fix" America's lagging public diplomacy effort in the Middle East.

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