BBG Watch Commentary
More than two hours after Russia Today and BBC reported that a Tatarstan Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on landing in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation, the Voice of America (VOA) English homepage still did not have this news or updated its top news stories. Dozens of people are reported dead.
[UPDATE: VOA English News shows a news item on the crash posted at 11:58AM ET, but it has not made it to its homepage and is unlikely to be seen by the vast majority of online readers.]
Most of the news lineup on the VOA English homepage has not been changed in many hours. At least two of the top seven news items on the VOA English homepage are from Reuters.
In addition to Russia Today and BBC, Al Jazeera also posted the plane crash on its homepage as breaking news.
The Kazan plane crash on the BBC homepage is the most read news item and already has over 600 Facebook “Likes” and over 500 Tweets.
The Voice of America has been frequently missing major news stories and not updating its English news website in recent years. The problem has become even worse during the last several months.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which like the Voice of America is also overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), reported promptly on the crash.
As of 2PM ET, the plane crash news still has not made it the VOA English homepage. The VOA mobile site showed that VOA posted a news item on the crash at 11:58AM ET, but it could not be seen.
Russia Today news report, “At least 50 dead as passenger jet crashes in central Russia,” as of 2PM ET showed over 2,500 Facebook “Likes” and 1,075 Tweets. The BBC news report, “Dozens dead in Russian plane crash,” already showed over 1,100 as of 2PM ET.
The VOA news report, “Russian Plane Crash Kills 50,” which only had 75 words, was apparently posted at 11:58AM ET but could only be found by searching inside the website, showed 2 (two) Facebook “Likes” as of 2PM ET.
Compared to VOA report’s 75 words, the BBC report, posted earlier, had 231 words. The Russia Today report, also originally posted much earlier, was longer than VOA and BBC reports. By 2PM ET, it had 845 words and numerous photos. Not surprisingly, the spin in the Russia Today report was that there may have been something wrong with the American-made Boeing plane. The BBC report had only confirmed facts regarding the crash and did not speculate as to its cause.
When a South Korean airliner with many Chinese and other international passengers crashed on landing at the San Francisco airport last July, the Voice of America was also late in reporting on it and failed to provide original coverage for the first few days, while BBC, Russia Today, and China’s CCTV offered original first-hand accounts from the scene almost immediately after the crash.