Well, why not? There is no America. America is unrecognizable to me. The Red White and Blue has become blurry at best.

If only we could outsource Bushco….

Voice of America to move part of news division to Hong Kong

Voice of America, the international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government, is shutting down the overnight shift of its central news division in Washington and replacing it with a new workforce in Hong Kong, which will be comprised partly of contractors.

News division employees were informed of the decision last Thursday and learned that overnight employees would take new jobs on the daytime and evening rotations, with a considerable decrease in salary, said Ted Iliff, the agency’s associate director for central programming.

Iliff, who oversees VOA’s news operations, said the move was prompted in part by budgetary concerns, and he bristled at the notion that the agency was “outsourcing” jobs to China, as the America Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents VOA, has charged.

“Outsourcing means a loss of jobs,” Iliff said. “Nobody [on the news staff] is losing a job.” He said the agency was eyeing a plan to hire 10 new reporters in Hong Kong, half of whom would be contractors and would receive no federal benefits. The remaining five would have the status of VOA employees, but would receive fewer benefits than full-time workers.

VOA could save at least $300,000 annually by moving the night shift to Hong Kong, where the agency has a news center, Iliff said. The transition also would place a contingent of reporters in an area of the world where VOA devotes significant news coverage now, Iliff added.

The move will likely prove unpopular with U.S.-based employees on the night shift and others in the VOA news division. The night shift is considered one of the toughest and least desirable slots, because of its unusual schedule, but employees are paid a bonus of approximately 10 percent of their regular salary, Iliff said.

VOA employees are reacting “with anger,” said one news division staffer, who asked not to be identified. Of the 10 employees who will now have to adjust to lower pay and different hours, the staffer said, “They feel like their world has been turned upside down.”

Iliff emphasized that the Hong Kong move would free up money for the agency to invest elsewhere, perhaps to beef up VOA’s online reporting and television broadcasting. And, he said, the move was motivated in part by the difficulty of filling slots on the overnight shift.

But the decision also has exposed the cantankerous relationship between VOA management and employees, some of whom suspect that officials want to scale back the agency’s English news operations in favor of other initiatives, the VOA staffer said.

“There’s a perception here, and it’s constantly being denied…that the present management at VOA is trying to do away with the English section,” the staffer said. “This really shows me that nothing is sacred.”


Why have a Voice of America when we have mostly Fake News anyways?

Most television viewers don’t know it, but a huge portion of what they watch on the local news programs aired by their favorite stations is not actually “news.” Rather, local television stations around the country have in recent years been taking “video news releases” from the federal government and major corporations – particularly the big pharmaceutical companies – and airing them as if they were news reports.

Video news releases (VNRs) are so common these days that they actually dominate some newscasts, blurring the lines between advertising and news more blatantly than product placements in movies do the lines between advertising and entertainment.

But, from now on, VNRs will be identified as productions of the corporations that developed them, rather than pawned off as part of the news.


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