HS Insider

Voice of America penetrates world

Journalism editors Sarah Burrola, Jessica Mijares and Monica Perez, along with moderator Karen Thompson, visited Voice of America’s
headquarters in Washington, D.C. in November.

VOA, one of the biggest
newsrooms in the world, is an international public broadcaster of the United
States federal government that provides news for TV, the Internet and radio in
45 languages to a global audience of 123 million, in such countries as Iran,
North Korea and several in Africa, among many others.

“I think it was really
cool to see news stations broadcast. I did not like the tour guide and do not
think it is welcoming and interactive for guests. I liked seeing where Voice of
America broadcasts from, but I don’t think it was a place to give tours,” said
Burrola.

Perez agreed that she
enjoyed “seeing the studios, but I wished we had a better tour guide to get a
sense of how big VOA is.”

Not said on the tour was
the fact that the VOA was created in 1943 by U.S. State Department to give
uncensored news.

During World War II, VOA
transmitted war news and commentary on American shortwave radio stations. The first live broadcast was delivered to
Germany in February of 1942, approximately seven weeks after the U.S. entered
the war.

That first broadcast
began with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the pledge: “Today, and every
day from now on, we will be with you from America to talk about the war…The
news may be good or bad for us—we will always tell you the truth.”

In mid-1942, VOA shared
medium-wave transmitters with Britain and expanded into North Africa and Italy
as the Allies moved into those territories.
The transmissions ultimately reached Asia, and by the end of the war were
supplying service in 40 languages.

—Story and photo by Jessica Mijares

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