BBG Watch Commentary

FISHBOWLDC-VOA-Article-3-5-14Many journalists at the Voice of America and those who knew him outside the organization are upset by the departure of VOA chief White House correspondent Dan Robinson. Dan technically did not resign. He took early retirement, but many suspect that he would have stayed had VOA been better managed.

Some of Robinson’s colleagues had also departed VOA earlier for apparently similar reasons. Others are talking of doing the same. The problem appears to be at least one senior executive, general plummeting of employee morale, and undermining of serious news reporting in recent years at the U.S. taxpayer-funded VOA.

Sources describe Dan Robinson as one of VOA’s most hard working, excellent and dedicated reporters. He has spent the past four years living and breathing the White House, with a Blackberry and iPhone glued to his hand. When not at the White House during his days off, at night and on weekends, he was filing correspondent reports from home. Since since 2010, he spent hundreds of hours doing that, BBG Watch was told.

Sources told us that Dan Robinson was sending constant advisories to the VOA Newsroom on news stories he was not assigned to cover, many of which were being ignored because senior management eliminated practically all news-writing positions in the VOA Newsroom. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, BBC, Deutsche Welle, even Russia’s RT and Voice of Russia, China’s CCTV, and Iran’s Press TV were reporting on these U.S. news stories.

Robinson was also working very closely with multiple VOA language services, advising them on White House statements relating to their media reach areas and upcoming events. He was widely respected by his colleagues. As one of them said, Dan Robinson was not afraid to speak out when he saw that something was wrong or when someone was treated unjustly.

FISHBOWLDC website has now published Dan Robinson’s letter to members of the oversight Broadcasting Board of Governors, which had been published earlier by BBG Watch. In his letter, Robinson describes the decline of reporting and management standards at the Voice of America and its managing stifling superstructure, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

Many of Dan Robinson’s VOA colleagues are truly sorry to see him go and worry greatly about their own future with the organization. FISHBOWL’s Patrick Tutwiler got it right, VOA has been “hemorrhaging reporters and apparently suffering from a crisis in management.” No doubt about it.

READ: Chief WH Correspondent Slams VOA in Resignation Letter, By Patrick Tutwiler, March 5, 2014.

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