Building Trust: the Ultimate Challenge in an Age of Global Media Voices, Sounds and Images

“Words matter!” That phrase was the theme of a wide-ranging survey by a senior official of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (the USAGM) of the challenges confronting Western broadcasters today. Dr. Haroon K. Ullah, chief strategy officer of the newly-renamed agency known since 1994 as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was the principal speaker at…

White man wearing blue shirt and red tie.

On Even the Darkest Night, Two Headlights are Always Better Than One!

On October 1, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Tom Kent moves on after two highly successful years at that U.S.-funded network. After service in Washington and Prague for RFE/RL, he’ll be in New York writing and teaching about journalism, disinformation and Russian affairs. Noteworthy achievements during Tom’s RFE/RL tenure: Formal inauguration with the Voice of…

Loyalty Recognized

The State Department brought John Matel out of retirement to manage public diplomacy activities in São Paulo for 42 days in August and September, 2018, as “while actually employed.” Before his retirement from the Foreign Service he was Country Public Affairs Officer for Brazil from 2011 to 2014.  Paulo Agustoni had been working for the…

World’s Fairs: Back Again in America’s Global Outreach

After nearly two decades, the U.S. has now rejoined the universe of Global Expos — more commonly known as World’s Fairs. Jim Core, director of the State Department’s tiny restored international expositions unit, is enthusiastic about the prospects. “These fairs,” he said, “are the Olympics of U.S. public diplomacy.” He was addressing the Public Diplomacy…

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Volunteerism

The praise was a bit embarrassing, and I am not sure I liked how it was tactically deployed, but the masters of ceremony held up the USA as the paragon of volunteerism, gently disparaging the Brazilian audience, pointing out that only around 4% of Brazilians were involved in volunteer activities. The State Department brought me…

The Troll in Your Computer

Remember trolls? They used to be mythical creatures from children’s stories who lurked in caves or under bridges. Not any more. Today’s trolls now lurk online, where they attack Western values, defend Vladimir Putin, and do whatever they can to plant nutty conspiracy theories and disrupt rational discussions on news and opinion websites. They’re not…