BBG Watch Commentary
Voice of America (VOA) English website did not post an original VOA news report on the toppling of Lenin statute by anti-government demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, relying instead on a Reuters report without any video. VOA got only 18 Facebook “Likes” for its Reuters report as of 9PM ET Sunday. [By about 10-11PM ET, VOA added more multimedia content to its Reuters report — many hours after such photos and videos were used by other U.S. and international media outlets, including this 1,600-word report on The New York Times website: “Protesters in Kiev Topple Lenin Statue as Rallies Grow,” NYT.]
It is difficult to understand why anybody would want to access a VOA website to read a Reuters report on a historic news event such as the Sunday mass demonstration in Kiev and the highly symbolic smashing of the Lenin statue. Reuters reports, frequently used on the VOA website, rarely get more than one or two dozen Facebook “Likes.” Compared to BBC, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera, VOA has dismal social media audience engagement scores.
VOA English website was also about three hours late Sunday behind BBC, Russia Today and other media outlets in posting the news item (from Reuters) about the toppling of the Lenin statue in Kiev.
Most other major international news organizations provided their own original news reporting quickly, with more details, more photos, and video.
BBC’s report, “Ukraine’s capital Kiev gripped by huge pro-EU demonstration,” included two videos — one from a BBC correspondent at the scene — and several photos. The BBC report had 7,709 Facebook “Likes” as of 9PM ET Sunday.
Russia Today’s report, “Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, smash to pieces with hammers (PHOTOS),” had over 2,800 Facebook “Likes” as of 9PM ET Sunday.
Last week the Voice of America English website failed to cover Lech Wałęsa’s visit to the U.S. Congress and his comments on the lack of America’s and President Obama’s moral and political leadership on the international scene. The Voice of America English website also failed to cover Vice President Joe Biden’s speech in Beijing, China, on human rights and media freedom.
One former VOA broadcaster observed that if the Voice of America covered the news in the 1980s the same way as it does now, Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa might still be sitting in a communist jail.