BBG Watch Commentary
Though the Voice of America (VOA) was quite sharp on the roll call vote at the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia, with VOA’s correspondent Cindy Saine tweeting news of Clinton going over the top at 6:39 PM EDT (posted by VOA at 6:41 EDT), it was the BBC that first put up a prominent headline about 3 minutes before VOA. Russia’s RT and SPUTNIK were also ahead of the Voice of America in posting their headlines.
Not too shabby performance by VOA this time but, even on this historic event, still 2nd place to BBC, as well as behind Russia’s RT and SPUTNIK, in terms of what was seen prominently on the VOA English News home page.
The Voice of America could have done better, as one VOA correspondent did with her tweet at 6:39 PM EDT. VOA journalists are generally not responsible for VOA being beaten by BBC, RT, SPUTNIK and others on how quickly important U.S. news headlines and stories are posted on VOA websites.
This is a management and organizational problem that countless SES and GM-15 BBG and VOA executives and managers should have solved years ago but didn’t.
VOA reporters are “undersold and exhausted,” as one writer put it, while the BBG and VOA management can’t get its act together.
Instead of leadership and solutions from the senior management, VOA journalists are being pacified with medals and constantly told by managers to do more with less, as new management posts are being filled while dozens of news reporting and other programming positions have been vacated and remain vacant under new leadership of BBG CEO John Lansing.
As one VOA reporter wrote to BBG Watch in response to the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) job recruiting announcement for “Deputy Chief Financial Officer; GS-0501-15” with “Salary Range $128,082.00 to $160,300.00 / Per Year”:
“Yet another damned GS-15 position not related to news!!!”
Some VOA reporters told us that if Hillary Clinton is elected to be the next president of the United States, and the first woman president, she will quickly do something drastic about the senior management of the agency — the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) — which as Secretary of State and herself BBG Board member she had described in 2013 as “practically defunct.”
There is a growing consensus among many BBG employees that BBG Chair Jeff Shell and BBG CEO John Lansing have turned out to be enormous disappointments. They have done some good things on the margins, but inside and outside critics point to their constant reliance on some of the failed veteran BBG/IBB executives, their opposition to major structural reforms, and recent questions regarding inappropriate purpose and poor planning of Mr. Shell’s visit to Russia which culminated in his expulsion by the Russian authorities.