— Millions around the world followed the U.S. presidential election Tuesday, courtesy of Voice of America’s radio and television broadcasts, websites and Twitter feeds.
“As the election drama unfolded, we had urgent requests from dozens of new stations, in addition to the hundreds of global affiliates we serve every day,” said VOA Director David Ensor.
VOA reporters in Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston and Miami were on the air in 17 Latin American countries throughout the day, feeding more than 100 live election updates to radio and television stations there.
The lead international anchor of Cable Noticias, a top Colombian TV station said, “our ratings went through the roof last night because of the election coverage the VOA Spanish Service provided.”
Throughout Africa, VOA language services provided constant updates to mobile phone users. In Nigeria and other countries, some state controlled stations carried VOA programs for the first time. Burundi state radio aired four hours of VOA’s election coverage. African audiences were also offered a chance to express their own election preference in an informal online poll that went overwhelmingly for President Obama.
Sasha Gong, the Chief of VOA’s Mandarin Service, which broadcast a two-hour TV election special on Tuesday, took part in a live web-chat on QQ, one of the most popular micro-blogs in China.
“I got all kinds of questions from the Chinese audience,” Gong says, “things like, why do you have an Electoral College system in the United States, and how will [President Barack] Obama deal with difficult economic questions facing the country?”
VOA’s Turkish Service provided live TV updates to its main Turkish affiliate station, TGRT News, including a translation of President Obama’s acceptance speech. The anchor of the Turkish program said, “Today we are the top channel in Turkey because of VOA’s contribution to our election coverage.”
Hakki Ocal, the Internet Managing Editor for VOA’s Near East and Central Asia Division, says, when other Turkish stations saw what we were doing with TGRT they called to ask if we would help them too. “Of course we did,” Ocal says.
A special report prepared by VOA in partnership with the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation aired four times nationwide on the state-run channel.
VOA Persian Service programs to Iran were devoted to election coverage on Tuesday, and a three-hour special broadcast brought together studio guests and live reports around the United States, including the Obama and Romney election headquarters. One Facebook fan called the coverage, “extremely excellent.”
Traffic to the VOA Russian website, which carried a two-hour UStreamed election special, was up sharply, with nearly 100,000 unique visitors. Thousands of others went to the service’s mobile site. VOA Ukrainian wrapped up its election coverage with a live interactive with affiliate Channel 5. The Service reported on reaction in Kyiv, which included remarks by U.S. Ambassador John Tefft.
VOA’s Indonesian Service, which has been highly effective with social media, had more than 20,000 Facebook fans engaged with election coverage, and traffic to the service’s website doubled.
For VOA Spanish language reporter Lina Correa there was an added bonus to the long work day. She says, “My family, who I haven’t seen in a while, sent me a text message from Colombia saying they looked up and saw me on TV while sitting at a café.”
For more information about this release contact Kyle King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at (202) 203-4959 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
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