“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 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.