BBG Watch Commentary

VOA Yemen 8-6-13BBC Yemen 8-6-13While BBC has its own correspondents and news analysts reporting from Yemen on the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy personnel, Voice of America posted this morning on its English news website only a short report (459 words) based apparently on wire service reports.

The BBC story, had 1,105 Facebook “Likes” and 684 Tweets as of 11:40AM Washington, DC time. The VOA story had 6 (six) Facebook “Likes” and 16 (sixteen) Tweets.

Longer (790 words) and richer in local detail and analysis BBC report, US and UK pull staff out of Yemen amid terror alert,quotes its stringer in Sanaa Adam Baron: “There’s this belief that something could be coming soon.”

The BBC story also includes this analysis by Adbullah Ghorab, BBC News, Sanaa:

“A security source confirmed to the BBC that Yemeni intelligence services had discovered that dozens of al-Qaeda members had arrived in Sanaa over the past few days in preparation for the implementation of a large plot. The source described the plot as dangerous and as including explosions and suicide attacks aimed at Western ambassadors and foreign embassies in Yemen, in addition to operations aimed at the Yemeni military headquarters.”

It was a longer analysis. We selected only one paragraph.

The VOA News report, US Evacuates Yemen Embassy, is actually somewhat longer than many other VOA news items and offers a good, albeit dry look at what is happening, but without local input, color or analysis. At least it was not a short Reuters news story which VOA now uses more often as it is unable to provide original news coverage due to cuts and mismanagement.

But if one divides 1,105, the number of Facebook “Likes” for the BBC story by 6, the number of Facebook “Likes” for the VOA story, one gets 184. That is how many times the BBC story was better “Liked” by readers than the VOA story. That is 18,400%.

But while being unable to deliver decent original news coverage for audiences overseas, Voice of America management now wants VOA reporters to spend time getting their reports ready for domestic audience in the U.S.

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