Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Friday, August 22nd 2014
By Joseph B. Bruns. Mr. Bruns served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of VOA. He was the first Director of the IBB. Bruns also held several senior position at USIA. He recently retired as COO of WETA after 15 years in public broadcasting.
Recently, there has been a great deal of debate, and no small amount of axe grinding, regarding the mission and the effectiveness of US international broadcasting under the Broadcasting Board of Governors. This debate has now been brought to a head with the passage in the House of Representatives of the boldly named US International Communications Reform Act of 2014, HR 4490, which would create a new structure for US international broadcasting and attempts to create a division of responsibility between the VOA and the multiple surrogate services such as Radio Free Asia, which have proliferated since the end of the Cold War. The authors of the legislation take the view that efficiency is better served by consolidating all of the surrogate services together under a new board, and then turning VOA, with its own separate board, into a specialized service, a kind of super Washington news bureau, reporting only on the United States news, interests and policies.
Sunday, July 27th 2014
By Joan Mower, Head of Development, Voice of America. John Hopkins University adjunct lecturer in Public Diplomacy. Ms. Mower will be a guest speaker at the First Monday Lunch Forum on August 4th.
Is the news media killing American investment in Africa?
Perhaps — but the tide is turning. Africans have long complained about the media’s negative bias towards their continent, and a quick Google search of top stories out of Africa lately confirms the thesis that “if it bleeds, it leads.” Ebola, Boko Haram and ethnic violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic dominate current international coverage of the continent.
Monday, July 21st 2014
By Katie Leasor, Program Designer, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, The Collaboratory
I was sitting in a meeting with a local D.C. charter school at the State Department when my colleague came up with a brilliant idea on how we could collaborate with them on virtual exchange programs. I began writing it down in my notebook when the black ink slowly turned grey, and eventually wouldn’t write at all.
Despite anxiously drawing circles to try and revive it, my pen died.
Monday, July 21st 2014
Voice of America Director David Ensor has just published an inspiring essay outlining a vision for the nation’s largest U.S.-funded overseas civilian network in the year 2020. Ensor, who served as the senior public diplomacy officer at the American Embassy in Kabul in 2010 and 2011 before coming to VOA, coordinated a broad range of press and cultural activities in Afghanistan. These included assistance to help Afghans build a modern mobile telephone, radio and TV infrastructure. From 1975-2006, Ensor was a nationally known correspondent at NPR, ABC News and CNN. At VOA, Ensor has presided over an expansion of its weekly audience to a record high 164 million adults via a range of digital and traditional media formats. This far surpasses Cold war peaks. The Voice, under Ensor’s leadership, is now continuing to reach even more users. It is capitalizing on the recent introduction of new mobile and tablet apps that work on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices designed to serve millions more eager for objective news about the United States and their own neighborhoods, unique windows on the world from an American perspective. You may access the Ensor vision of VOA’s future HERE.
Sunday, July 13th 2014
Seven decades ago, fascism was in its death throes. A quarter of a century ago, the Berlin Wall fell, setting in motion the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. In this century, however, those world-shaking events seem to be “history” as our nation faces an array of grave new challenges.
The recent death of Walter Roberts – broadcaster, diplomat, architect and builder of Public Diplomacy, educator, and co-founder of the Public Diplomacy Council – reminds us that those events are still within living memory. They shaped the future we all inhabit. The institutions of Public Diplomacy that were founded during the struggles of the twentieth century remain, ready for refocus and renewal in a turbulent new era.