Tuesday 19 September 2017
“This is my second tour with VOA. I first came to VOA as a health reporter but now I am back as the Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition correspondent and I love it. In between my two tours I worked in communications for a medical society, but it became abundantly clear how much more fun journalism was. At VOA, I get to report at a level you don’t get anywhere else. I report on things that matter to people around the world and that require immediate actions. It is a very interesting time to work in agriculture. People are actually paying attention to some of the top issues such as water, food, sustainability, meat consumption, and globalization. There is a lot more attention towards these issues – but the science won’t matter if policies get in the way. VOA has given me the opportunity to travel to places like India, Thailand, Morocco, Haiti, and Texas and report on substantive issues. I was half-way up a mountain in Haiti after the earthquake and talked to the farmers there about the current agriculture situation. The Haiti trip was a fantastic and eye-opening experience and I would have no purpose being there if I wasn’t a reporter. When I was a health reporter, I went to a remote part of India when the polio outbreak was very high. It was an eye-opening experience of what the developing world looked like. The adults didn’t want their children to be vaccinated because of their suspicions about westerners and their agendas. It is issues like these that people who are trying to help need to overcome. If I wasn’t a reporter I wouldn’t have visited any of these places, and I think that’s what makes working at VOA so great.”
VOA correspondent Steve Baragona attended the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in molecular biology. He came to VOA on a fellowship program from UNC and intended to be a health and science reporter. This is Steve’s second tour at VOA and it is clear that he truly enjoys his job. He is very passionate about agriculture, food, and nutrition issues and spreading the word.
“I had ducked under an entrance in front of the VOA building on a rainy morning in the early 1990’s when suddenly, I found myself face-to-face with Willis Conover (VOA’s internationally-known jazz aficionado and announcer). There was a bit of silence. Then, Willis asked me ‘Do you know who Jack Teagarden is?’ What a strange litmus test, I thought. I told Willis, of course I knew about Teagarden, an influential jazz trombonist. That delighted him. As it turned out, we had a lot to talk about. When he learned I was from Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia, we would talk about his trips to the city. I knew Willis later in his life. He was frail and often kept to himself. But he always had a smile for me when I saw him in the hallways or went down to his office.”
VOA broadcaster Jagoda Bush grew up in Zagreb listening to Willis Conover’s jazz program on Voice of America. Bush says she never dreamed she would one day work at VOA. Bush and her husband lived in Brazil and South Africa before moving to the United States in 1979. She began at VOA in 1991 as an announcer for the Yugoslavia Service but spent most of her VOA career in the Croatian Service. Now a member of the Bosnian Service, she writes stories for television and the Internet, voices material and serves as a translator.