Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Monday, January 2nd 2017
Here's a guest post by Council Member Joseph B. Bruns, who served the Voice of America and PBS affiliates WETA and KQED as a senior executive. He was also director of the U.S. Government's International Broadcasting, with oversight of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio and TV Marti and WorldNet Television.
Now that the National Defense Authorization Act has been signed into law removing the Broadcasting Board of Governors from managerial and operational authority over U.S. international broadcasting, it is time for those who care about it to cease the hand-wringing over the loss of the so-called firewall, roll up our sleeves and get down to the practical work of operating in the new paradigm.
After all, U.S. international broadcasting was effective before the invention of the BBG (some would argue more effective) while under USIA and the Board for International Broadcasting, and there is no reason why it cannot do so once again. In fact, the real firewall was not the BBG, which has stated that it had never received pressure from the White House or State Department to violate its editorial independence, but rather the VOA Charter, signed into law in 1976, the editorial principles adopted by RFE/RL, and, most importantly, the professional integrity of managers and editorial staff throughout the organizations. Without the latter, no amount of asbestos lining, and no nicety of legal language could suffice.
But it is obvious that work needs to be done. The structural change to international broadcasting, which received bi-partisan Congressional as well as Obama Administration support, came about out of a sense of deep dissatisfaction with the managerial and editorial performance of the BBG. Yet it is people, not structure, who will lead U.S. broadcasting out of the miasma in which it finds itself. Leaders need to lead.Read More
Wednesday, December 28th 2016
Looking for some news you can use in this time of sound-bitten political transition? The 11 contributors to Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future provide historical analysis, practice-based evidence, and forward-leaning insights for new and continuing actors in U.S. diplomacy’s expanding public dimension. The book is the newest in the Public Diplomacy Council’s series and will be available at amazon.com by mid-January.Read More
The Public Diplomacy Council's has released its newest publication, Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future.
Sunday, December 18th 2016
Making a Difference
Donald M. Bishop
A few years ago the Washington Post ran an article describing the difficulty that "young altruists" in their late 20's encounter as they try to leverage their desire to make the world a better place into careers. Despite advanced degrees, languages, internships, short-term work with NGOs, and Peace Corps service, finding work with good pay and benefits is elusive, the article reported.Read More
Saturday, December 17th 2016
The change to the governance structure of the Broadcasting Board of Governors through an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act has raised some concerns that the BBG might turn inward to target American audiences through domestic broadcasting. An article at Politico stated that because of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2013, "the BBG can now broadcast in the U.S., too.” Fox’s Howard Kurtz was more accurate in writing that the three year-old amendment means that the "BBG's content can also be broadcast in the United States.” The first is inaccurate the second is slightly misleading. Here is why.Read More