2016 was a year of thorough and comprehensive media coverage of the presidential elections and VOA was there to provide its audiences with the latest news and information. The level of effort was no different when Voice of America continued into the new year with its coverage of the presidential inauguration.
The VOA News Center produced 26 television packages in advance of the inauguration to be used by the network’s 47 language services in the days leading up to the swearing-in, or in live shows on the day. These features highlighted key issues for the new administration, gave historic perspectives on the event, and presented logistical preparations for the day. They also included two stories from Melania Trump’s hometown in Slovenia and an exclusive interview with former president Jimmy Carter, who spoke to reporter Kane Farabaugh about the new administration.
The News Center’s social media team live-streamed key events of the day on Facebook Live, garnering more than 720,000 views for the swearing-in ceremony and more than one million views for a video of the parade.
VOA’s Eurasia Division provided special minute-by-minute coverage of President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony. More than 200 television networks and digital media outlets in Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans, and the South Caucasus carried their programming. The Russian Service produced a special, three-hour television program that aired on the Current Time network. The president’s inaugural address was carried live and simultaneously translated in Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian and Georgian.
South and Central Asia division provided a total of 17 hours of live radio coverage of the inauguration with simultaneous translation of the speech and another five hours of television programming to nine affiliates, including live coverage of the inauguration ceremony and protests.
Every service from the South and Central Asia division provided Facebook Live coverage of the inauguration from numerous locations. The Afghan service alone did 19 Facebook live shots. VOA’s Azerbaijani service, which conducted four Facebook Live reports from various locations throughout the day, received hundreds of comments and feedback from its audience despite restrictions on its website by the government of Azerbaijan.
VOA’s Africa Division aired more than 22 hours of live radio coverage of the inauguration with simultaneous translation of the speech. Additionally for television, the services provided live feeds from the ceremony, translated video profiles of President Trump and Vice President Michael Pence and live correspondent reports fed to more than 40 African television affiliates. “I am amazed by how fast you guys put together the report as it happens,” Abdu Assabuur Galato wrote on VOA Afaan-Oromoo Facebook. “In just 30 minutes, you gave us everything. Thank you!” “You guys are showing us a country where people have a right to vote,” wrote Bokku Maccaa. “It is a good thing to see.”
English to Africa radio and TV provided two hours of live coverage of the inauguration ceremony for more than 15 major TV and radio affiliates across Africa. The special program featured VOA correspondents via live remotes from the U.S. Capitol, Lafayette Park, National Archives and the Cohen building roof. The service streamed the program on VOANews.com/Africa and Facebook. The Africa 54 Facebook stream reached more than 580,000, and generated more than 110,000 views, 1,600 shares and 1,800 comments - the most ever in a single post for the page.
An Africa 54 follower reached out during the two-hour special with this message: "I like the Africa 54 coverage of the inauguration on Facebook.” In addition, English TV provided interviews and TV packages to Channels TV in Nigeria; assisted visiting reporters from NBS TV in Kampala, Uganda with their live and taped reports on Inauguration Day; provided live audio reports to RTHK in Hong Kong; and shared President Trump’s speech with all of its African affiliates.
VOA’s Mandarin Service provided a Presidential Inauguration Special, which included a two-hour live satellite broadcast with social media streaming, two hours of live coverage of the pre-inaugural concert, a one hour discussion preceding the ceremony and a two hour live program covering the inaugural celebration, in addition to the live telecast of the ceremony with simultaneous translation of President Trump’s inaugural address. The Indonesian Service provided about 60 live hits with 14 different TV affiliates, and 119 live radio reports with about 37 radio stations. CNN Indonesia alone requested and received 14 live hits from VOA Indonesian.
VOA Spanish provided a record 108 affiliates with live shots from Washington, D.C., New York, Miami and Tijuana, Mexico, and a two-hour special was featured on all 35 VIP affiliate networks that dedicated programs to the U.S. inauguration, giving VOA Spanish national reach throughout 17 countries in Latin America. The service also provided live, on-the-air coverage to sister station, Radio and TV Marti. In addition, 15 affiliates in Haiti carried VOA Creole’s full broadcast of the inauguration with full simultaneous interpretation. The service also provided live hour-long interactives to two national affiliates, Radio Lumiere and Tele Nationale.
VOA Persian provided 6.5 hours of continuous special minute-by-minute live coverage of President Trump’s inauguration events, including the president’s inaugural address simultaneously translated in Farsi and carried live on satellite TV channel, live web stream and Facebook Live video.
The VOA digital team produced two interactive graphics, a web map populated with social media coverage by newsroom reporters across Washington, D.C., and another graphic that enabled the user to explore the history of U.S. presidential inaugural addresses.