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Audiences Around the World Got a Front Row Seat to President Trump’s State of the Union Speech

VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren on the set with VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone (L) and VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman (C).
VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren on the set with VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone (L) and VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman (C).

The Voice of America covered President Trump’s first State of the Union address, as well as the Democratic responses, on multiple platforms with simultaneous translation in multiple languages. VOA presented balanced and comprehensive coverage of the speech, providing international audiences with context and history to understand the purpose of the State of the Union, along with responsible discussion and opinion on its policy implications.

At the VOA News Center, coverage began the previous night and continued with a livestream of the speech and the Democratic response in English, with links to translations in Farsi, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Pashto. VOA also offered a live web blog, Twitter updates, and complete radio stories every 15 minutes for the duration of the speech.

VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren, along with VOA journalists Jim Malone, Steve Herman and Katherine Gypson, led English-language political analysis and commentary on radio, television, digital and Facebook. The telecast featured in-depth discussions on policies outlined by President Trump and what to expect moving forward.

VOA language services carried special programming dedicated exclusively to the speech, like VOA Persian that produced a 2.5-hour live TV special, VOA Russian who produced a two-hour and 15-minute live special program for the Current Time TV network and social media platforms and VOA Chinese that
aired a 2.5-hour program on satellite,, YouTube and Facebook. In addition, several language services with extensive networks of affiliates engaged with them repeatedly during the president’s speech; like VOA Spanish that provided live interactives to dozens of television, radio and online affiliates in 17 Latin American countries; and the VOA Eurasia division that provided live television reports to more than 40 television affiliates; and VOA Turkish that interacted with important affiliates including Haberturk, Halk TV and Bloomberg TV; and VOA Afghan that provided live reports to affiliates Azadi, TOLO, RTA and Shamshad.

At least twenty-one members of Congress from both parties and chambers spoke to VOA reporters from the News Center and language services, communicating with a global audience immediately after the speech from the National Statuary Hall and the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.

While measuring the complete impact of the VOA language services’ efforts to cover the State of the Union may be difficult, mentions and use of VOA brands and content by external parties provide some insight on the importance of VOA’s work. "VOA is a free media for everyone in the world," Kim Heat, one of VOA Khmer’s Facebook fans commented on the services coverage of the president’s speech.