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VOA Brings Comprehensive Election Coverage to its Global Audience

VOA staff work behind the scenes to bring live coverage to their audience in Russia.
VOA staff work behind the scenes to bring live coverage to their audience in Russia.

Voice of America journalists and staff worked late into the night of Election Day 2022 to bring their audience of more than 311 million people around the globe in-depth coverage of the U.S. midterm elections. Reporters throughout Washington, D.C. and across the country delivered the election results and analysis in 48 languages.

Several VOA language services were live on the air for hours on Election Night. As of the morning of November 9, audience numbers were just beginning to be compiled and are still growing.

“VOA journalists provided a comprehensive view of politics and elections at every level in the United States,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “By telling America’s story on such a critical day in our nation, VOA provided millions around the world with an accurate and in-depth view of democracy in action.”

VOA’s Studio and Production Operations team provided program support in the field at voting locations and candidate headquarters as well as in VOA TV and radio studios. Six Master Control staff members coordinated multiple remote connections and satellite paths. The graphics team closely worked with VOA’s News Center and with multiple language services, including Persian, Russian and Burmese, to update election results graphics in real time and provide election coverage to their audiences.

Millions looked to the Eurasia division’s eight language services for live coverage of critical elections. VOA Russian produced a three-hour midterm election television special, and VOA Ukrainian delivered a two-hour special, with live reports from across the U.S., including Chicago, and the Washington, D.C. region. The service summarized and analyzed election results for their viewers with live interviews with members of the Ukrainian diaspora and interviews with U.S. lawmakers.

Reporters from other Eurasia division language services participated in many nationally-televised newscasts in their regions and special programming about America’s congressional elections reached audiences in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Georgia. On digital platforms, the Eurasia services provided live blog posts, explainers and infographics also used by VOA’s affiliates and leading web portals in the region. In addition to up-to-date election results, experts provided perspectives on the elections’ impact on foreign relations and the economy, as well as diaspora reaction to these issues.

VOA’s Latin America division provided robust reporting from their Spanish and Creole services. VOA Spanish produced more than 250 live and pre-recorded reports requested by regional affiliates, with VOA reporters located throughout the U.S., including New York, Capitol Hill, Miami and Austin, Texas.

The Spanish service offered several explainers that accumulated more than 150,000 views in just a few hours, as well as delivering a live blog, interactive posts and articles explaining the top issues.

VOA Creole's Election Day coverage included not only news and analysis, but a focus on Haitian-American candidates and voters from some of the states with the biggest diaspora representation, including New York, Massachusetts and Florida. From Washington, D.C., Creole service journalists reviewed the issues and seats at stake. By the next day, VOA Creole content realized more than 70,000 views across all digital platforms.

VOA’s East Asia and Pacific division produced numerous interviews and analysis pieces across radio, television, web and social media that reached diaspora communities and local audiences. VOA Vietnamese’s overall coverage drew large audiences throughout the night, including a total of 30,000 views on the web. On social media, the team recorded 8,500 interactions and 150,000 video views. The service covered large U.S.-based diaspora communities in Northern Virginia and in Southern California.

VOA Korean filed a series of reports on the impact of the midterm elections on the Biden administration’s North Korea policy. The coverage also highlighted Korean-American candidates and North Korean refugees in the U.S., with YouTube videos receiving more than 54,000 views.

VOA Persian aired a five-hour long America’s “Election Night Live” TV special with two hosts, seven reporters and 20 experts and contributors participating in the show from live positions at the U.S. Capitol and the White House in Washington, D.C. and from polling stations across the U.S.

VOA Persian’s comprehensive picture of what was at stake in the U.S. midterm elections involving Iran policy, featured a wide range of experts, of which 70 percent were women.

VOA’s South and Central Asia division produced live and comprehensive coverage across its eight services. VOA Urdu included original coverage about a Muslim Pakistani running for the New York state assembly and a Pakistani-American running for Congress.

VOA Turkish reached media outlets in Turkey with coverage that explained U.S. midterm elections to their audiences. The service also produced a feature on a Turkish-American physician running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

The Afghan service provided wall-to-wall coverage on all of its platforms, including live coverage from polling stations, Capitol Hill and the White House. In addition to discussing the importance of the elections in U.S. and on foreign policy, programming focused on how election outcomes would impact thousands of newly-arrived Afghan refugees in the U.S. and the country’s policy toward Afghanistan.

The Africa Division offered special coverage of the election across their 10 language services, including nearly 100 interviews, more than 40 shows dedicated to the election and more than 70 original television packages. VOA’s English to Africa service produced live reports from polling places, interviews with academic experts on elections and U.S. policy in Africa and other post-election discussions. The French to Africa service offered explainers and backgrounders on the elections and question and answer sessions with voters and analysts. The Horn of Africa service interviewed and featured Ethiopian- and Eritrean-American candidates for Congress in New York and at the city council level in Minnesota

VOA News Center correspondents provided on-the-ground reporting for many VOA languages services and to VOA’s English language audience, which included live reports from Georgia, where Democrats and Republicans competed in a key Senate race and for that state’s governor’s contest. News Center reporters also were on hand in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, covering races throughout the Mid Atlantic.

“Across the entire country, VOA journalists and our studio operations team prepared for weeks to ensure that our coverage of the U.S. midterm elections would be clear, comprehensive and engaging,” said Acting Director López. “On Election Night 2022 - from our TV and radio studios to the rooftop of our headquarters building here in D.C., I saw firsthand the tireless efforts of our entire VOA team working together to explain and analyze the impact of this significant event in American politics and its meaning for our global audience.”