BBG Watch Commentary
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has launched a new website which aggregates English-language news from its various media entities, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia (RFA).
A useful tool for media enthusiasts looking for under-reported but interesting news dealing with human rights and other critical issues in countries lacking political and media freedom, the new BBG website, “Global News Dashboard,” is a far cry from the original proposals pushed by former BBG chairman Walter Isaacson and the agency’s senior staff. They wanted to create a new brand called “Global News Network” that would be a first step toward merging content from BBG entities and placing them under central bureaucratic control.
“Global News Dashboard” is a far more useful solution that does not conflict with the well-established brands of U.S. international broadcasting and does not appear to draw too many resources away from the entities that produce news content.
The executive staff of the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) was prevented from pursuing their initial grandiose plan to create Global News Network after members of Congress realized that it included proposals to cut Voice of America broadcasts to China and Tibet and other programming reductions to pay for the expansion of central IBB bureaucracy needed to create and launch a new BBG brand. Managers at the BBG’s media entities strongly opposed the initial plan with the exception of one or two executives who were former associates of former BBG chairman Walter Isaacson. He resigned in January 2012.
A more assertive BBG Board is now re-examining other IBB-supported plans that have failed to increase BBG’s global audience since before 2008 and may try to shrink the central bureaucracy while expanding the freedom of its entities to pursue their own programming and marketing strategies targeted for specific countries and audiences.
The BBG press release says that the new site’s English-language content will come from Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia. Users who access stories will be directed to the original content on the sites of the three broadcasters. The Global News Dashboard also will include links to original content in Spanish of Radio/TV Martí and the Arabic-language online offerings of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
The press release does not mention whether content in other foreign languages will be made available on the Global News Dashboard website in the future.
BBG Press Release
Washington, DC – Breaking international news gathered by one of the world’s most extensive networks of journalists can now be found in one place thanks to a new online initiative by the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Today marks the launch of the BBG’s Global News Dashboard, which pulls together the English-language news from the more than 50 bureaus, production centers and offices supported by the agency’s staff journalists and more than 1500 stringers around the globe.
“This site showcases the depth and reach of the high-quality journalism that the BBG produces,” said Richard M. Lobo, director of the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau. “There are millions of English-speakers worldwide who get their news from the individual websites of our broadcasters. It makes sense to pool our resources and put them to work to serve our audiences even better.”
The new site’s English-language content will come from Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia. Users who access stories will be directed to the original content on the sites of the three broadcasters. The Global News Dashboard also will include links to original content in Spanish of Radio/TV Martí and the Arabic-language online offerings of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
Before development of the Dashboard, people interested in the work of the BBG would have to visit the websites of five separate broadcasters. This tool, built on the Pangea content management system developed by RFE/RL and used by the majority of BBG’s broadcasters to power their websites, makes that search easier.
“It’s such a simple tool, but it will have a resounding effect,” said Robert Bole, director of BBG’s Office of Digital and Design Innovation. “Bringing all these sources of information together makes a powerful statement about this agency and the way we do business. We’re so much greater than just the sum of our parts.”
The Global News Dashboard can be found at http://www.globalnewsdashboard.com.