Highlights from VOA Staff

Steve Baragona“This is my second tour with VOA. I first came to VOA as a health reporter but now I am back as the Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition correspondent and I love it. In between my two tours I worked in communications for a medical society, but it became abundantly clear how much more fun journalism was. At VOA, I get to report at a level you don’t get anywhere else. I report on things that matter to people around the world and that require immediate actions. It is a very interesting time to work in agriculture. People are actually paying attention to some of the top issues such as water, food, sustainability, meat consumption, and globalization. There is a lot more attention towards these issues – but the science won’t matter if policies get in the way.  VOA has given me the opportunity to travel to places like India, Thailand, Morocco, Haiti, and Texas and report on substantive issues.  I was half-way up a mountain in Haiti after the earthquake and talked to the farmers there about the current agriculture situation. The Haiti trip was a fantastic and eye-opening experience and I would have no purpose being there if I wasn’t a reporter. When I was a health reporter, I went to a remote part of India when the polio outbreak was very high. It was an eye-opening experience of what the developing world looked like. The adults didn’t want their children to be vaccinated because of their suspicions about westerners and their agendas. It is issues like these that people who are trying to help need to overcome. If I wasn’t a reporter I wouldn’t have visited any of these places, and I think that’s what makes working at VOA so great.”

-Steve Baragona, VOA Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Correspondent

VOA correspondent Steve Baragona attended the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in molecular biology. He came to VOA on a fellowship program from UNC and intended to be a health and science reporter. This is Steve’s second tour at VOA and it is clear that he truly enjoys his job. He is very passionate about agriculture, food, and nutrition issues and spreading the word.


Jagoda Bush“I had ducked under an entrance in front of the VOA building on a rainy morning in the early 1990’s when suddenly, I found myself face-to-face with Willis Conover (VOA’s internationally-known jazz aficionado and announcer). There was a bit of silence. Then, Willis asked me ‘Do you know who Jack Teagarden is?’  What a strange litmus test, I thought. I told Willis, of course I knew about Teagarden, an influential jazz trombonist. That delighted him. As it turned out, we had a lot to talk about. When he learned I was from Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia, we would talk about his trips to the city. I knew Willis later in his life. He was frail and often kept to himself. But he always had a smile for me when I saw him in the hallways or went down to his office.”

-Jagoda Bush, VOA Bosnian Service International Broadcaster

VOA broadcaster Jagoda Bush grew up in Zagreb listening to Willis Conover’s jazz program on Voice of America. Bush says she never dreamed she would one day work at VOA. Bush and her husband lived in Brazil and South Africa before moving to the United States in 1979. She began at VOA in 1991 as an announcer for the Yugoslavia Service but spent most of her VOA career in the Croatian Service. Now a member of the Bosnian Service, she writes stories for television and the Internet, voices material and serves as a translator.


“I had been a journalist for probably 30 years, and decided to take a try at business.  In 2007, I signed with an American company in Moscow to be the business development director.  I had been an observer all my life.  Now to be a player and to make money for a company – it was a good mental stretch.  But due to the global economic situation that job ended and I came back to journalism in 2010.  In June of that year, I was hired by VOA to be the Moscow Bureau Chief and it’s a lot of fun!  The challenges are getting videos, you have to think pictures and images and telling a story through pictures.  You need to get those pictures and do it in a way where you minimize the hassle to people in Washington.  The blog, too, is a lot of fun.  You put out your researched opinions on current events.  I’ve covered 14 wars in 60 countries, so at this stage in my life I have a good understanding of how politics evolve and the roles of what happens.  No one can predict where they’re going, but you know what’s in the background.  I’ve got 20 years of Russia under my belt, the comings and goings, and that’s really important to get a sense of where this massive country is moving.  I love the job! That’s why I’m doing it.  I think I appreciate it more having jumped off the treadmill and then coming back in.  You freshen up; you have new eyes and new energy.”
–    James Brooke, VOA Moscow Bureau Chief

VOA Moscow Bureau Chief reports for Voice of America in radio, video and Internet providing direct information from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Libya.  His journalistic work experience includes reporting for The New York Times, Bloomberg News and The Miami Herald.  He holds a BA from Yale University in Latin American Studies with a strong focus in Russian language.  Brooke speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and basic Japanese.  His experience in the business field makes him not only a well-rounded professional but also a great asset to Voice of America.  You can read his news reports on VOA’s website as well as follow his blog, Russia Watch, for the latest on the country’s trending topics.


Bruna Ladeira and VOA tour guests“I enjoy conducting the VOA Studio Tours  – especially the part where I stop in front of an on-air television studio and control room. I explain what’s going on and the roles of the anchor, director, producer and other personnel. The studios are interesting because I am getting a behind-the-scenes look at a show – something that most people don’t see.  I’m also making it possible for people on the tour to get this unique look at VOA.  A lot of the people who come for the tours already know about VOA. They say they watched and listened to VOA programs while living abroad. Often, they ask, “Why doesn’t VOA broadcast within the United States?” I explain how the Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the agency from airing broadcasts within the U.S. As for Public Relations, my goal is to become so versatile that I can perform any of the tasks required by office – from setting up interviews and writing press releases to setting up Web sites.”
-Bruna Ladeira, Public Relations Assistant

Bruna Ladeira came to the Voice of America as a volunteer in the Public Relations Department in August 2011. She was hired in February 2012 as a student trainee.  A Brazilian, she adds to VOA’s already rich diversity.  She is fluent in three languages – Portuguese, Spanish and English – and has lived in Brazil.   Bruna graduated from the University of Maryland in 2011 with a degree in Communication. As an assistant in the Public Relations Office, she promotes the agency and its mission on social media sites, helps coordinate upcoming events and serves as a link between the agency and the public.


Stephanie Ho in Sichuan Province

Stephanie Ho in Sichuan Province

“I went to Beijing for the first time in 1989 on a student exchange program, when I was a junior in college. We were supposed to spend the whole year in Beijing, but because of the June 4th Tiananmen crackdown, my university sent us to Taipei first, for the fall semester. After I returned to the U.S., I took a semester off from school and interned at the VOA China Branch, which was my first experience with VOA. In China, the challenges are different – finding people who will talk and help me better understand all aspects of the story. Things are never clear here, and one part of my job is to read between the lines to try to determine what is really going on. Some challenges include the government’s blocking access to many Internet sites, monitoring phones, intimidating possible sources, not granting interviews, making information unavailable or inaccessible. One highlight of my time in China was following the route of Mao Ze Dong’s Long March, in 2010, because I was able to spend an extended amount of time in the countryside. Foreign journalists who operate in China often are criticized for just parachuting into rural areas and not really get the full picture, but I think being on the road for three weeks gave me a much better understanding.”
– Stephanie Ho

As VOA’s Beijing Bureau Chief, Stephanie Ho covers all breaking news and features for radio, television, and Internet. She first learned about VOA while spending a semester of high school in Washington D.C. as a page in the House of Representatives. As a student of journalism and Asian Studies major concentrating in Chinese History in college, becoming involved in VOA was a “natural choice” for her. During her tenure in Beijing, she has had some extraordinary experiences, including following the trail of Mao’s “Long March” in 2010, and narrowly escaping physical violence from Chinese authorities while trying to report on the Jasmine Revolution in February 2011.


Irene Larraz

Irene Larraz

“I love covering things for VOA – it gives me the chance to take photos, interview people, and do the things I enjoy. I had a friend who talked with me about working at Voice of America. He told me about the level of professionalism and so I came to VOA [as an intern] to learn from people who had more expertise than me. They allowed me to cover things and listened to my ideas seriously. I always feel I am having great experiences on every platform. Now [as a correspondent] I feel at ease at VOA and feel that there is always someone to hear your needs and your point of view.  I also love working in Argentina, which is the area I have studied as part of my masters program and where I am currently based. In Argentina I try to meet people in the streets and they are very open and comfortable. Everywhere you go, they talk to you. A lot of interesting things take place and, since I am not from there, I always feel there are so many things to cover.”
– Irene Larraz, Latin America Division correspondent

Irene Larraz came to the Voice of America as in intern in 2010 and was hired in January 2011. She currently serves as a correspondent in the Latin America Division, focusing on events in Argentina, where she is currently located. As a reporter, she writes articles and works on the Latin America Division’s Spanish website. In addition, she works on a blog about student life in Latin America. She graduated from Spain’s Universidad de Navarra in 2010 and is currently working on her M.A. in International Relations, with a focus on Latin America, at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Originally from Pamplona, Spain, Irene has always been fascinated by Argentine history and culture.


Sasha Gong (right) with intern Dan Shen

Sasha Gong (right) with intern Dan Shen

“VOA means a lot to me. To some extent, it changed my entire life. When I was a teenager, I always used shortwave radio to listen to VOA secretly in China. You can’t imagine; at that time, listening to ‘enemy radio’ was an offense punishable by imprisonment, but I did it anyway. VOA provided me with a new way to see the U.S. and this world. Since then, I feel like exploring the truth and broadcasting it freely is really important and this is what pushed me to be a journalist. I love my team and I always spend time with them because I want to learn every step of their process. Speaking of management philosophy, I think inspiring people is the key to success. You should make people feel they are important. Miscommunication is the biggest challenge. It’s always better to talk about things rather than being silent. My expectation for VOA’s China Branch is for it to become the most reliable source of Mandarin news all over the world.”
– Sasha Gong, VOA China Branch Chief

Sasha Gong is not only VOA’s China Branch Chief, but also a historian, sociologist, blogger, and writer. Born and raised in Guangzhou, China, she came to the United States in 1987 to seek freedom. She studied at Harvard and obtained her PhD in sociology. Before Sasha came to VOA, she worked as a manger of Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese Service for several years. Moreover, she ran for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. She wrote about her experiences and thoughts in her book “Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty.”


Navbahor Imamova

“I always wanted to be a journalist. I liked to tell stories and wanted to be the first to let people know about something. I grew up in an information-controlled society but my family listened to VOA and when WorldNet television was available in the former USSR, it was the first English program I ever watched. To me, what we do as journalists has the most impact on people. I strongly believe that we connect our audiences with the world. Here in the Uzbek service, we work very hard to cover stories that are relevant and unique. We stand out because we are offering the kinds of reports, interviews and analysis that no one else does in Central Asia. We bring America to the households in the region, and whether our audiences like U.S. policies or not, they listen, watch and read because they know what we say is credible and reliable. We live in an incredibly small world. So governments are more aware than ever that they can’t block the information flow forever.”
Navbahor Imamova, VOA Uzbek Service

Navbahor Imamova joined VOA in 2003 and hosts daily radio and weekly TV shows, including Exploring America, targeted at Uzbek audiences throughout Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. She is also the senior editor of the VOA Uzbek website. Navbahor started her career as a reporter with the Uzbek National Broadcasting Company. She taught journalism at the Uzbek State World Languages University in Tashkent. Born and raised in rural Uzbekistan, where her mother is still a farmer, Navbahor has a B.A. in journalism and mass communications from the University of Mysore, India and a M.A. from Ball State University, where she was honored with an alumnus award for excellence in broadcasting.


“I decided to go into journalism because I love the idea of exploring people,” says Iscar Blanco, “It’s what motivated me to study sociology in university as well, because in sociology you get to examine how people communicate and relate to one another. In other words, I have been part of journalism since university even if I did not formally study it at the time. I also wanted to be part of history, because to me being at the right place when history happens is a lot more fun than hearing about it.”
-Iscar Blanco, VOA Spanish Service

Iscar Blanco, Multimedia Managing Editor of VOA’s Spanish Service, works to engage his audience with news and history. He tracks audience preferences by analyzing web traffic statistics for the entire Spanish Service site. Iscar moved to multimedia from more traditional journalism because of his own interest and to merge the skills of a young, web-savvy generation with those of veteran reporters. Before joining VOA, Iscar worked as a reporter and producer for CNN and BBC while completing his Masters in Journalism at the University of Miami.


“It took America about 200 years to get to where it is now, so most African countries are only beginning to grow,” explains Timothée Donangmaye. “Because a lot of these countries only became independent in the ‘60s, their concepts of democracy and civic duty are still in very early stages and need time to evolve. Right now, Africa needs to gradually build the skill and culture necessary to be a country like America. Shows like “Washington Forum” and “L’Amérique et Vous” inform Africans of their role as active citizens of their country, which is one of the first important steps towards development.”
-Timothée Donangmaye, VOA French to Africa Service

Timothée Donangmaye is one of VOA’s most well-known figures in Africa. Senior Editor in VOA’s French to Africa Service, he edits all of the Service’s audio, video, and online content. He also co-hosts the widely popular TV show Washington Forum and radio program L’Amérique et Vous. Timothée came to VOA as a translator in 1995, then joined the French to Africa staff three years later. Originally from Chad, he remembers growing up with VOA’s programs before studying journalism at the School of Mass Communications in Yaoundé, Cameroon.


Doug BernardWhat happens to our online self after we die? These are the kinds of thought-provoking questions Doug Bernard explores for the audience of his blog, Digital Frontiers. “Certain human experiences we go through have not yet caught up to the digital world, and I explore that.” Bernard’s inquisitive mind prompts him to push the boundaries of blogging. “When I write, it’s not in ‘news speak,’ but in a distinct language for the web. Online pieces have to be constructed differently, because it’s another form of media with its own presentational style—one that you hope people connect with, since they can see through a phony. Readers appreciate the honesty of an individual and that voice, so I try to reflect that with Digital Frontiers. It’s the best job. The audience is the one who is curious; I am the one who gets to be curious for them.
-Doug Bernard, VOA English division

Doug Bernard was named a journalism fellow in 2000 at the University of Michigan where he lectured and conducted media research. Prior to joining VOA’s English division in 2002, he wrote forDigital Frontiers The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor. Bernard was deemed “International Presenter of the Year—Radio” by the Association of International Broadcasting for his work as host of VOA’s Talk to America program. Shortly after, he created The Daily Download, VOA’s first video webcast that featured downloadable news highlights. His most recent project, Digital Frontiers, covers the ever-changing issues of security, freedom, privacy, and identity on the web.


Odil Ruzaliev“As a journalist, I try to convey the kind of message the average audience member in Uzbekistan has no way of getting through official channels,” says Odil Ruzaliev. “We try to compensate for whatever is not reported or is underreported in Uzbekistan because of censorship.  If people’s understanding of their country and world is enhanced by my work, that’s a big accomplishment for me.  Culturally, Uzbekistan and the Uzbek-speaking region [including Southern Kyrgyzstan, parts of Southern Kazakhstan, and parts of Tajikistan and Northern Afghanistan] is a place rich in history, and it carries the legacy of great historical figures like Tamerlane, who conquered a third of the world, and Avicenna, who invented modern medicine. In the present day, Uzbekistan [where the largest Uzbek population is found] is a country of the former Soviet Union where people are striving for democracy under the old Soviet leaders, but can’t enjoy the freedom that those in the European countries of the former Soviet Bloc have achieved. There are both political and technical challenges to broadcasting in Uzbekistan. There is a lot of control over information and what journalists can say. We used to have over ten affiliates in Uzbekistan, but after the events in the city of Andijan  [when Uzbekistan security forces reportedly fired on peaceful protesters in 2005], all foreign journalists were ordered out and these affiliates were ordered to stop working with VOA. So now the only way to watch VOA is by satellite. We are also on short wave radio, but we are often jammed, either by Uzbekistan or by China, because the Uzbek language is very close to Uighur. Our website is also blocked in most places in Uzbekistan, and only people who know about proxy servers can access it. Still, people watch and listen, including many Uzbek-speakers outside of Uzbekistan. I feel more than certain that if none of this were happening, everyone would listen to or watch VOA. We offer the kind of information they don’t get in ordinary life. People in Uzbekistan are hungry for information. They know that what they are being fed is not true.”
-Odil Ruzaliev, VOA Uzbek Service

Photo taken by Odil Ruzaliev

Odil Ruzaliev produces and hosts a daily 30-minute radio news program, produces a half-hour weekly TV program and works on the VOA News Uzbek Service website. Odil was the creator and host of the television program First Channel News, Uzbekistan’s first English language news broadcast. Although intended for foreigners residing in Uzbekistan, the show became a huge hit with people studying English and is still running to this day. Before coming to VOA, he also produced stories for CNN’s World View and worked for the BBC. In his spare time, he is a freelance photographer.


John Tanza“The most interesting aspect of working at VOA is the game of catch up,” explains John Tanza, co-host of South Sudan in Focus. “A news event will happen in Sudan in the morning, and we will broadcast it at the end of the day, so inevitably there are people who have published the story earlier than you. But it’s your angle that matters. An interesting perspective will expose the story, so what I do with my show is bring out the South Sudanese angle. In doing so, it gives an alternative voice, one that makes the audience identify with the issues. What I have learned is that giving people accurate, balanced information sells.”
– John Tanza, co-host of South Sudan in Focus

John Tanza’s eight years of experience working in the region as a journalist have made him quite familiar with Eastern Africa and South Sudan in particular. After starting as an Information Officer for the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, he moved on as a reporter for the Sudan Radio Service, the first USAID-funded independent radio station in Sudan. In 2010, he joined VOA’s English to Africa Service, where along with his broadcast work, he helped lead several Town Hall meetings and a journalism workshop in Juba. Now, his days involve co-hosting South Sudan in Focus.


Fatima Tlisova“As a journalist I aim to tell the truth of what is going on in Russia and particularly in my region, the North Caucasus,” says Fatima Tlisova. “Also, I aim to create unique content about topics not widely covered by the mainstream media in the region. That’s why I wrote the article ‘Kavkazskii Samizdat’ [‘Caucasus Self-Publishing,’ about amateur music recording in the Caucasus]. For me it was an amazing subject—like a mirror reflecting what the youth is thinking. There are many challenges to covering the North Caucasus. First, there is no access to official government documents for independent journalists. Another challenge is that people in Russia don’t like to talk about press freedom, which is the topic of my blog, ‘Pressa pod Pressom’ (‘Press Under Pressure’). You can hear people talking about it at conferences or in organizations that specifically deal with press freedom, but ordinary journalists don’t like to talk about it.”
-Fatima Tlisova, VOA Russian Service

Fatima Tlisova is a freelancer with the VOA Russian Service, where she covers Russia’s restive North Caucasus region and topics including Islamic radicalism, corruption, and racism. She also writes the blog “Pressa pod pressom” (“Press Under Pressure”) about press freedom in Russia. Before coming to Voice of America a year ago, she had been editor-in-chief of the REGNUM News Agency in the North Caucasus, a special correspondent for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, and a reporter for the Associated Press and for VOA’s sister broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She has won several international awards, including the Rory Peck Freelancer’s Choice Award for “continuous bravery, commitment to the story and efforts to help fellow journalists,” and the Human Rights Watch award for journalism and advocacy. She is an ethnic Circassian from Russia’s Karachay-Cherkess Republic, but spent much of her professional career in the neighboring Kabardino-Balkar Republic.


Scott Bobb reporting in Sudan“I face unique challenges reporting stories in each different country,” says VOA foreign correspondent, Scott Bobb.“In Johannesburg, South Africa, I was constantly looking for new media and creative ways to get the message out to connect with diverse audiences. Africa leapfrogged over 50 years of technology from minimal landlines right into cell phones and Internet, requiring some adjustment on my part as a reporter. I witnessed the developing world move in a positive direction toward free-flowing media, which is an exciting advancement and a necessary one in the political democracy arena. I hope the escalation of information access brings more young journalists interested in working in the region. It’s not all wild and savage as many tend to think, although it is quite exciting. Next, as I move to my post in Jerusalem, I’m preparing to face a language challenge because, especially in the Middle East, words can be loaded and used as political weapons. Opinions are so divided in Jerusalem, I figure if I get critics from every side then I’m doing it right. There’s a lot about overseas journalism no one can really prepare you for—you just learn along the way. But I’ve learned something new every day, at every new place, and I really value that.”
– Scott Bobb, Regional Correspondent

Scott Bobb grew up in a missionary family based in the Congo. His extensive contribution to VOA began in 1977, when he joined as a writer, editor, and on-air host in the English to Africa Division. His fluency in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Lingala predicted his successful career as a VOA foreign correspondent. In 1982 he began his overseas career in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the first of his three African postings. His experience helped him author a reference book, The Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This year, he prepares for his 7th overseas post, located in Jerusalem.


Dong Hyuk Lee“The most rewarding thing about this job is that you get to provide news where news is needed most, and I think North Korea is the number one candidate for that,” says VOA Korean Service Chief Dong Hyuk Lee. “When we report on something for North Koreans, we don’t get feedback directly from North Koreans, but I think we have a very positive impact on our audience. To them, we are often a determining factor for crucial decisions. In this sense, I have a tremendous feeling of reward, even though that reward might not be something tangible or visible.” Moreover, regardless of whether his listeners are North Koreans or not, Lee says, “I simply love this work. I don’t go out into the field to report anymore, but at heart I’m still a journalist. Whenever news breaks, I’m just excited by it. That’s something you can’t explain. You love what you love.”
-Dong Hyuk Lee, VOA Korean Service Chief

Before taking his current post as chief of the VOA Korean Service in 2006, Dong Hyuk Lee worked at Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service for several years. “I joined RFA so I could devote my entire time to covering and studying North Korean related news and issues,” Lee says. His long-standing interest in inter-Korean politics and the U.S.’s role in Korean affairs made the switch to VOA an easy one. Lee developed his interest in journalism while studying Applied English Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. As he completed his Masters Degree in Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Korea Daily of Chicago hired him as a journalist, which combined his passions for journalism and for Korean news and issues.


Norman Goodman

“I like going back to Indonesia,” says VOA Indonesian Service Chief Norman Goodman, “but I also like the fact that we don’t just have an audience there, we also have all these affiliate stations. So I love getting back together with those people. Sitting here you don’t necessarily get a sense of anybody. If you’re talking to a microphone in a studio, you have no idea if anyone’s listening, and it’s not difficult to forget that people are out there listening and affiliates are counting on you. So for me it’s very important to be able to go back and reconnect with people.” Several years ago, Goodman also set up a VOA Indonesian contest that asks viewers to send in a photo with a minimum of ten people and a sign that contains a message to VOA. Goodman says the Service has received “some absolutely terrific photos,” one of which sits on his desk. “I did this because I wanted our broadcasters to have pictures of the people who are listening to them.”
-Norman Goodman, VOA Indonesian Service Chief

Before coming to VOA as Indonesian Service Chief in 2000, Norman Goodman spent nearly 20 years working and living overseas. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia and later conducted his dissertation research there as well. Afterwards, he spent ten years in Indonesia and more than three years in Thailand serving as the Representative and Regional Director for the Institute of International Education (IIE). He then went on to serve on a USAID development training project in Cairo before coming to VOA. As Indonesian Service Chief, Goodman led the transition from solely radio to television and the Internet.


Larry London with Vanessa Carlton

Larry London with Vanessa Carlton

I’m more of a pop dude,” says Border Crossings’ host Larry London, “so when I took over the show nine years ago, I turned it mainstream. Because it’s a request show with a world-wide reach, we receive music requests from an extremely diverse audience—from citizens of India and Kazakhstan, to Peace Corp volunteers and soldiers in the Middle East. I have to be conscious of my listeners during the program because many do not have English as their first language. I keep my tone animated and conversation interesting in order to maintain their attention. Luckily, the show is unscripted, so I am able to go with the flow and say whatever comes to mind in the context of each program. I try to include 15 minute interviews with popular artists that will appeal to the audience. Most are held live, with no delay to make room for editing errors. The hardest part of the job for me is remembering the name of the CD the artist is promoting. I know that’s what they are there to sell and they’ll be mad if I mess up the title. Sometimes it’s difficult to get bigger names to come on the show—they typically won’t confirm until the week of. I always tell guests, if you do this interview, and if we sell one CD to every listener, you can cancel your tour.”
– Larry London, Host of Border Crossings

Larry began his radio career working for his high school radio station. Before arriving at VOA in 2001, he worked at a number of other stations, including in Los Angeles working for the legendary producer and host Dick Clark and in Hong Kong for 5 years running a bilingual radio station. As host of Border Crossings, Larry has interviewed an impressive variety of music talents, such as Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, and famous producer and songwriter Quincy Jones. When he’s not busy in VOA’s studios, he enjoys coaching his 12-year-old daughter’s softball team, which recently celebrated a victory in the Maryland State 12U Championship.


“I have often said that in this job you invoke the Hippocratic Oath: do no harm. The biggest challenge of directing the Public Relations Office is to effectively make the case that VOA journalists  and programs are our best promotional exports. The biggest change I’ve seen in my time at VOA is the shift in the technology we use to do this: we began as a radio organization and evolved into a multimedia organization. When I started my career as a journalist, the standard tool set of PR was the press release and the phone call. Now, with technology changing almost daily, the goal becomes reaching audiences interested in VOA and doing so on a platform that they are using. It’s clear that we need to continue to embrace and take advantage of social media like blogs , Facebook,  and Twitter. And I’m really enjoying the challenge.”
– David Borgida, Director of VOA Public Relations Office

David Borgida worked as a VOA correspondent and news manager for over thirty years before becoming the PR Director. During his journalism career, he was a radio correspondent, television news anchor and TV news manager. As a radio correspondent, he covered Capitol Hill, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and the White House – where he interviewed President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s.

16 Responses to Highlights from VOA Staff

  1. Pingback: Inside VOA’s Indonesian Service | What's Up Inside VOA

  2. Pingback: Inside VOA’s Korean Service | What's Up Inside VOA

  3. Pingback: A Nation Born | What's Up Inside VOA

  4. kofi yeboah says:

    I did like reading this piece of work.keep it up VOA!

  5. Many “I Like” votes to Border Crossings Host Mr. Larry London for putting this up on his Face Book Page!

  6. amos umoren says:

    i love the voa. ive been a listener to ur programms since the early 1980s. please where is dianne johnson as well as george collinet?
    amos umoren

    • Hello Amos, sorry for the long delay in replying! Dianne left VOA quite a long time ago, I don’t know where she went. George is not on air with us anymore, but he does come in periodically to help with training. He has his own production company here in Washington, DC. It’s so nice to hear from fans, especially from those such as you, who have followed VOA for so long! We hope to keep you interested for many more years. Thanks for writing!

    • Hello Amos, remembered your question when I saw this NPR story on Georges Collinet – I thought you would want to see & listen to it. Check it out! We would love to hear from you again, too. Happy New Year. http://n.pr/yiSllu.

  7. Fiona says:

    Hi VOA, I would like to mention Doug Bernard because he is an outstanding journalist who cares about what he does. His current Digital Frontiers project where he takes his audience on an exploration of the Digital world is always interesting, thought provoking and excellent. Doug is an outstanding journalist because what he does always comes right from his heart and he cares about and sees the people right in front of him. What also makes him so outstanding is his natural and special way with people, he always brings out the best in people. Also no one else can be sassy like he can! As I have said before Doug is a very special person and this will help him as a journalist as he tells other people’s stories. Doug as you tell other peoples stories use that special gift of caring you have and tell peoples stories with genuine love and concern, not just to get a great story. Keep up the excellent work you do and never stop caring !

  8. Francis Awokiyesi says:

    Where is VOAs Dianne Johnson hostess of Nightline Africa in the 1980s.

  9. nan says:

    Hi there, wondering if Yifang Ren is still working for VOA.

    • Hello, thank you for your query. I’m not finding that name right now, but could you give a bit more info & we can check further? Was this individual working in DC or a different country? Which Service?


  10. Segun sunday says:

    VOA my VOA, wot & how else wud i hav bin able 2 hav such objectv & unbiased reportage of world events & news witout u. Dat am a bit informd of day2day events in d world , i owe 2 u my darling VOA

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