Voice of America late and short on Boehner

BBG Watch Analysis

By A Former Voice of America Correspondent

BBC World beat VOA on the Boehner resignation, with at least a 15 to 20 minute margin. BBC had a mobile news alert on Boehner well before 10 AM Friday morning, and the story was posted as a lead item on BBC’s Home and USA-Canada sections, but also posted as a news item on the BBC World and other pages.

VOA could only muster a brief Tweet, posted not by one of its correspondents on Capitol Hill, but by Jim Fry, a news manager in VOA’s stumbling central newsroom. This was posted at about 10:05 AM EDT, at which point the main VOA website still had no actual news item or photo posted.

VOA finally with Boehner story in a 10:26 AM time marked story, appearing on the USA section…not as a lead on main page.   House of Reps correspondent Cindy Saine tweets around same time on “news alert” section.

Overall — VOA beaten soundly by BBC on this story — just like the old days!

Boehner finally elevated to an above-the-fold position on VOA site, seen around 10:58 AM, about an hour after BBC carries first breaking alerts on resignation….

What this shows — and I hope Lansing has a chance to see it in some  form — is that there is still a systemic tendency in VOA to be BEHIND….and when they are caught out doing it, they rush to cover it up.  The tweet by Fry is illustrative — when the Boehner story broke, it was a surprise for most news organizations — MSNBC/CNN broke into their broadcasts to report it.   But BBC, being what we know it is — an always ALERT and fast-moving well-oiled machine, was able to display the story on BBC Mobile as an alert, quickly follow up by posting a fairly detailed story on multiple of its regional sites, then steadily and quickly add to it with breakout stories, profile of Boehner, etc.    

VOA simply lacks the ability to do that.   Even on stories right under its nose on Capitol Hill, as we have seen so many times in the past.  While VOA, as I have observed, has improved under pressure from BBGW, the fact that stuff like this continues to happen should provide someone like Lansing with additional background.  So, when he’s in the newsroom and the usual suspects are boasting to him about how great the place is, he could bring this up…question is, will he?

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