Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service and seven years in the private sector.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. Read More

U.S. Capitol building with dome

Making the Hard Case for Soft Power: an Echo

There is room for optimism that Congress will reject the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to exchanges programs and to public diplomacy in general.  However, if you want to defend these programs, now is the time to speak out. Through our member Sherry Mueller, the Public Diplomacy Council joined major PD advocacy organizations to sponsor “Making…

US International Broadcasting Then and Now

By Alan Heil A SHORTWAVE CHRYSALIS TO A MULTIMEDIA BUTTERFLY: U.S. INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING THEN AND NOW Last Monday was indeed a memorable day for historians of our nation’s publicly-funded international broadcasters.  In the 20th century, these scholars were challenged to understand hot and Cold Wars, and convey what they learned, largely on shortwave radio.   Now they…

Don’t Kick VOA When It’s Down

VOA’s alleged mishandling of a Chinese insider’s interview shouldn’t overshadow the important work done by it and the other U.S. government-sponsored broadcasters. See my latest commentary in The American Interest: The Voice of America (VOA) celebrated its 75th anniversary in March, but it didn’t have much time to savor its diamond jubilee. Just a month later,…