February 14, 2012

Many VOA assets are being reprogrammed to enhance the rapid pursuit of new media formats. The only encouraging aspect of the budget is the notion that VOA Central News, although greatly reduced in size, will become the site of a global news network incorporating the best reporting of all five publicly-funded overseas broadcasting entities.

A government agency cannot realistically be a news agency. One politically appointed manager might be committed to independent journalism, but the next might order the manipulation of content to support the policies of the president who appointed him or her. In this regard, the new mission statement of the BBG is not helpful.

Thought leaders from the worlds of technology and government are seeking next-generation answers to a range of challenges, including how U.S. international broadcasting can add renewed luster to its global brands. Meeting at the Washington bureau, experts discussed how digital innovations might help create new audiences in specific markets.

It is true that the Act makes clear Congress wants the United States “to use broadcasting to support freedom and democracy in a rapidly changing international environment.” But, interestingly, that wording is contained in the last of five “findings and declarations” approved by Congress.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors released their strategy supporting their 2013 budget request today. The plan is far ranging and addresses many of the major challenges facing America’s international broadcasting today directly and several more indirectly. As good as the plan reads, the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will hold a special telephonic meeting tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 11) to decide on an interim successor to Walter Isaacson to act as “Presiding Governor” of the Agency. Isaacson... resigned as Chairman of the BBG...

The sudden resignation of Walter Isaacson as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors will further paralyze an already dysfunctional organization in desperate need of restructuring to move beyond yesterday and meet the requirements of today and tomorrow. This comes at a critical time when the BBG is attempting to complete and gain support for a new strategic plan.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency in charge of critical U.S. information programs to countries such as Iran, China and Russia, can only be described as a failed enterprise in need of emergency surgery.