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Two public diplomacy initiatives have emerged; one from the Bush administration; the other from America's private sector. Together they suggest a subtle maturation taking root in U.S. efforts to connect with publics abroad, although change is never easy.
In what can only be described as anti-climactic, Al Jazeera International is starting its English channel broadcasts to North America November 15 with a whimper, rather than the desired flourish. After failing to meet several self-appointed inaugural air dates over the past year, the controversial Arabic TV channel kicked off its service to the U.S. via bottom-tier, off-the-beaten-track delivery services on which Al Jazeera International's audience in America will be miniscule to start.
Worldcasting noted last week the need for that "vision" thing to be injected into America's international broadcasts. It should be the first order of business for those who oversee America's non-military TV and radio programs abroad. Instead, the attention these days is diverted to intramural turf battles that accomplish little to advance U.S. efforts to communicate with international publics.
Events moved rapidly this week at Voice of America. VOA director David Jackson decided to give his managers a heads up, shocking them with the news that he was planning to move on soon That's exactly what happened. Within days the entire VOA staff saw the announcement that Jackson was indeed leaving. The supervisory Broadcasting Board of Governors accepted Jackson's resignation and approved a successor, who would arrive on the job a couple of days after that.
The BBG acted faster and more efficiently than it had in years.
The war in Iraq has spawned a new industry in Washington that could be called Psy-ops Journalism. The new breed of journalists are following the money trail to the Pentagon.
With U.S. elections little more than a month away, America's public diplomacy has been cast into the fray. By an odd coincidence, on the same day President Bush charged that a classified intelligence report on Iraq had been leaked to the New York Times to embarrass the administration leading up to the November elections, another news organization published an exclusive story regarding U.S. public diplomacy.
Here is more from those who played along with our fantasy of receiving a call from the president -- this or any president -- who then asks advice on how to improve America’s public diplomacy.
As President Theodore Roosevelt once observed, those who choose to go "in the arena" experience both "victory and defeat," and we have, each of us, had our share of the latter, but happily some of the former, so why not share our experiences for those now in the arena?
Performance of Congress-Financed Alhurra TV: Do Viewership Numbers and American Taxpayer Money Spent Add Up?
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