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VOA Programming Weekly Highlights, May 18, 2023

VOA Spanish’s Title 42 Coverage Amasses 6.7M+ Views

VOA Spanish’s extensive team coverage of the end of Title 42 amassed a record-breaking 6.7M+ video views in the past week, the most views achieved by the service in a week’s time. A dedicated team at the border produced 386 live and prerecorded reports for affiliates, daily newscast reports, and Facebook Lives. Reporters provided updates on detentions and deportations in El Paso and joint U.S.-Mexico efforts to deter illegal migration and filed compelling stories of migrants, including a 10-year-old Venezuelan child. Multiple articles, video explainers and comprehensive reporting across VOA Spanish platforms expanded its digital reach and resulted in the addition of a new affiliate, W Radio (Mexico).

VOA Mandarin's Coverage of U.S. Migrant Crisis Penetrates Great Firewall, Rouses Chinese Netizens

VOA Mandarin’s reporting on Chinese migrants at the southern border went viral across China’s digital platforms Weibo and WeChat. One Mandarin video alone, which depicts a Chinese woman’s dramatic swim across the Rio Grande to the United States, triggered many reposts and heated discussion online. Many netizens saluted her pursuit of freedom while the former editor-in-chief of the state-controlled Global Times, Hu Xijin, commented that she didn’t represent most Chinese. VOA Mandarin’s coverage of the U.S. migrant crisis received nearly 2M views on its social media platforms between May 10 and May 15.

VOA Breaks News in Ukraine on U.S. Delivery of Tanks, Generates Dozens of Citations in Local Media

VOA Ukrainian broke the news in Ukraine on U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s statement to Congress that M1 Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine in the fall. Testifying during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Defense Subcommittee on the 2024 fiscal year budget submitted by the U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary Austin said, “We are doing everything possible to speed up the delivery of these tanks. According to our forecasts, this will happen at the beginning of autumn.” The story was widely republished in Ukraine, generating 96 citations in local media within the first two days of publishing, including DW Ukrainian, Ukrayinska Pravda, Hromaske and UNIAN.

VOA Turkish and VOA Kurdish Election Coverage Boosts Social Media Engagement Rates

As VOA Turkish covered parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey its Twitter page generated at least 1.3M views on May 14. Interactions on VOA Turkish's Instagram page increased by six percent, while interactions on its YouTube videos increased by 60 percent. VOA Turkish's election coverage generated more than 5M views on Facebook and Instagram in aggregate from May 7 to May 14. In addition, VOA Kurdish's coverage of elections in Ankara, Diyarbakir and Van helped generate more than 5M views and 891K engagements on Facebook during the same period.

News Center Provides Comprehensive Coverage of Turkish, Thai Elections

Turkey and Thailand held highly anticipated national elections on Sunday. In the weeks leading up to Turkey’s polls and on election day, the VOA News Center team in Istanbul and in the earthquake zone filed a total of 16 English-language TV packages in addition to radio, social media, photos and web stories that brought insightful reporting from the country’s marginalized voices. In Thailand, News Center reporters provided more than 10 preview web and TV stories, as well as sharp day-of analysis on the election’s regional impact.

VOA Persian's Coverage of Global Protests Against the Execution of Prisoners Engages the Audience

Audience engagement with VOA Persian’s coverage of the Islamic Republic’s execution of prisoners and global protest rallies surpassed 775K on all digital platforms between May 8 and May 15. Afshar Sigarchi reported that 64 prisoners in Iran were executed in 12 days. Rozita Irandoost reported from the protest rally in Washington, and Panah Farhadbahman reported that activists in London were protesting the execution of Baloch prisoners. Sara Damavandan reported on the Twitter campaign fueled by political activists for the German government to take action against Jamshid Sharmahd’s death sentence.

VOA Coverage of Funeral for Ethiopian Musician Draws Significant Numbers on Digital Platforms

VOA Amharic was in Addis Ababa at a funeral for a young Ethiopian musician, Firew Hailu, who died suddenly in his sleep while on a concert tour in Italy. The video story received more than 250K Facebook views, more than 7K likes, and nearly 1K comments in the first 24 hours after it was posted on May 15. This engagement demonstrates how VOA’s coverage of non-political issues is reaching the younger population in Africa, the predominant demographic on the continent.