The Voice of America - VOA has carried United States, regional, and world news to listeners around the globe for more than 60 years. Founded less than three months after the United States entered World War II, the Voice has been a beacon of hope for those deprived of news.
William Harlan Hale opened the first VOA broadcast on February 24, 1942, with the words, "The Voice of America speaks. Today, America has been at war for 79 days. Daily, at this time, we shall speak to you about America and the war - the news may be good or bad - we shall tell you the truth."
The willingness to report the news accurately and objectively - no matter what the subject - has been a basic philosophy for every VOA broadcaster. That is why VOA reporters told the world about such stories as Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. Its reporters have never shied away from the controversial. Instead, they have reported the news with the balance and objectivity that VOA listeners rely on: present the facts of a news story and let the listener decide.
Voice of America broadcasts originate from its headquarters building in Washington, D.C., where staffs prepare and broadcast newscasts, features, English-teaching programs, and music shows in 44 languages to audiences around the globe. VOA' s Washington newsroom follows stories 24-hours-a-day and a network of 40 VOA correspondents and 100 freelance reporters in major cities worldwide cover news events.
More than 100 million people turn to VOA on radio, TV and the Internet each week. A highly successful marketing and placement program has provided VOA-produced programming on more than 1,400 radio and television stations around the world. In 1994, VOA entered the world of television when it inaugurated China Forum TV, a Chinese-language TV program beamed by satellite to viewers in the People's Republic of China. In 1996, a new television studio was completed, and VOA now simulcasts portions of some programs on radio and TV in a variety of languages - including Albanian, Azeri, Bosnian, Croatian, English, Indonesian, Mandarin, Persian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Ukrainian. VOA also puts text, audio, and audio/video on its Internet sites, and has an aggressive targeted E-mail program to countries where the Internet site is blocked.
As the Voice of America evolves into a 21st-century international broadcaster utilizing all of the latest technologies, we must not forget that the "Voice" started from very meager beginnings to become a voice of hope and freedom for many people whose governments told them only what they wanted them to hear.
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