Voice of America covered President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address, as well as the Democratic response, on multiple platforms with simultaneous translation in numerous languages. VOA presented comprehensive coverage of the speech, providing international audiences with context and history to understand the purpose of the State of the Union, along with in-depth discussion and opinion from a range of external guests on its policy implications.
For English-speaking audiences, VOA’s News Center provided television, radio and web coverage by White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara, Senate correspondent Mike Bowman and reporter William Gallo respectively; a radio and web breakout on the North Korea summit announcement from Steve Miller in Seoul, a TV roundup of world reaction by Henry Ridgwell in London, and numerous text and video digital products for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram rounded out the News Center’s coverage. These segments included explainer videos and FAQs to provide context for overseas audiences, as well as a photo gallery, a profile on Stacey Abrams who delivered the Democratic response, guest profiles, speech texts and sidebars on the foreign policy elements and Abrams’ speech. Highlights of the president’s speech and the Democratic response were streamed on Facebook Live and presented in more than a half-dozen video clips.
News Center reporters did a total of seven live interviews Tuesday and Wednesday with affiliates in Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa and Turkey and another four with VOA language services and programs.
The day after the State of the Union address, VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren examined President Trump’s speech focusing on whether or not he succeeded in his call for unity and bipartisanship. Van Susteren spoke with political pundits to hear their analysis of the address and VOA reporters Steve Herman, Jim Malone and Katherine Gypson also made appearances on the special edition of VOA’s “Plugged In” program.
VOA language services broadcast the address, as well as the Democratic response. With more than four million visits to VOA’s websites and social media channels, people from around the globe accessed the special programming provided by VOA. Professors from the University of California, San Bernardino, Brown University, Princeton University, Chicago State University, Manhattan College, University of Florida and Canada’s York University helped to provide commentary and analysis of President Trump’s address and key policy decisions for foreign audiences. Coverage throughout the address included Facebook, Twitter and YouTube content, as well as radio and television programing. VOA’s robust coverage elicited numerous and wide-ranging responses from audiences who engaged with VOA’s interactive live streamed programming.
VOA spoke with more than a dozen law makers and opinion leaders regarding their reaction to President Trump’s speech. These individuals included Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, (R-NE), Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY and many others.
VOA’s coverage of the State of the Union address and the Democratic response remains central to VOA’s mission by providing comprehensive reporting and telling America’s story to audiences around the world.