I spent two months working for the Voice of America in Washington D.C. The VOA is the official external broadcast institution of the U.S. government and works under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
The VOA provides programming for broadcast on radio, TV, and internet outside the U.S., in 44 languages which reaches an estimated 123 million people every week. The VOA’s mission is, “To promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas.”
I specifically interned in the Central Africa Service of the Voice of America. The Central Africa Service is located within the Africa Division and broadcasts in Kirundi and Kinyarwanda to Burundi and Rwanda. One of the great things about working at the VOA, specifically within the Africa division, is that funding is tight. Very quickly on my first day I was asked to contribute like a full time employee. I have acted as a producer for a radio program broadcast in Kirundi and Kinyarwanda. I had to write a report every Monday morning about the ways in which the U.S. media has covered Africa from the previous week. That report would then be read on the Monday radio show.
I have worked as a producer, developing content and tracking down guests, for the French to Africa’s Washington Forum TV show. I attended several events like a review of what we know about the CIA’s involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1950’s at the John Hopkins SAIS School. I also wrote press reviews for major events that happened over the summer like the media reaction to the release of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices. These were used to form the basis of stories and background information on Washington Forum.
Altogether, my time as VOA has enhanced and developed multiple skills. My writing and research skills have been tested and improved. The ability to have something that I wrote broadcast around the world made me rethink my first draft and always go back through to make sure that everything was absolutely perfect; no words out of place, no thought unclear. I attended events on a variety of subject and read more newspapers than I ever have. I also was able to learn editing and producing tools like DaletPlus and I learned how to videotape an interview and proper film techniques. Following graduation, I want to work in communications. My experiences at the Voice of America have put on the path to make that become a reality.