BBG Watch Commentary

In an email provided to BBG Watch, an anonymous Voice of America (VOA) journalist is appealing to VOA director Amanda Bennett to do a debrief on how the organization handled reporting on the Dallas shootings incident.

BBG Watch reported that VOA director Amanda Bennett had intervened to get the VOA newsroom to focus more on the police shootings story and that VOA reporting has improved as a result of her action, but VOA continued to make mistakes and its coverage remained uneven although much more extensive after the director’s intervention.

The anonymous VOA reporter is right. A debrief of the VOA newsroom’s performance is needed. But what is needed even more is a broad and deep analysis of the performance of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Voice of America (VOA) management. They are the ones who are almost entirely responsible for the current state of VOA news.



Deep Debrief of VOA Newsroom’s Performance Needed


By A Voice of America Reporter

“While I am troubled by some of her [Voice of America director Amanda Bennett’s] remarks, I am also heartened by some of them. I would like to see her do a broad and deep debrief of the newsroom’s performance on this story sometime next week, telling us all where the newsroom succeeded and failed. But I need to see her in action a lot more before I am willing to agree with your assessment [Voice of America improves police shootings coverage after director intervenes].
I know there are limits to our resources, and the newsroom has been decimated, but we have consistently exhibited poor news judgment and poor deployment of our resources and that is not a resource issue.
The other question, which you have raised, is this: is it just too late?
In other words, have we forever lost our audience? It seems to me we have, and nothing short of millions of dollars and many years of effort could have even the smallest of a chance of getting it back.
Maybe we should just pack it in, and become a producer of features about the US, deferring to the wire services for breaking news. Aren’t all of our efforts just duplicating the wires and local reporters anyway? What are we doing that is so different that justifies the spending of federal tax dollars?”

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