A Spotlight on Excellence

Right to left, Dick Lobo, VOA Director David Ensor, and representatives of the Indonesia Service.

Right to left, Dick Lobo, VOA Director David Ensor, and representatives of the Indonesian Service.

This week I was pleased to participate in a new initiative designed to shine a light on the some of the best work being done here at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. It’s called, appropriately, the Spotlight on Excellence Awards.

The program was created in our Office of Performance Review (OPR), which took on the difficult task of identifying the very best examples of excellent media content from among an extremely rich pool of quality work by broadcasters in the Voice of America (VOA) and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

Spotlight Awards were given out in six categories for content that represent the best of what we do without regard for program popularity or geopolitical clout.

I understand the selection process was extremely difficult and that any one of our services could easily have been honored in each of the categories. But as Bob Long, a program analyst in the OPR said in opening the ceremony, these are spotlight awards, not floodlight awards.

I believe strongly in recognizing extraordinary achievement, not only to reward our most dedicated and talented professionals, but also to encourage others to strive for excellence in their work. We want our employees to know their contributions to our team will be respected and appreciated. These awards are yet another way to recognize success and boost morale.

The surprised winners received a handsome, framed certificate and another appropriate gift: a high definition camcorder.

Excellence in Journalism: VOA’s Khmer Service for its special report “Khmer Rouge War Tribunal,” which attracted the wrath of the Cambodian government.

Excellence in Presentation: VOA’s Indonesian Service, which provides reports and features seamlessly to its many strong affiliates and provides  an indispensable window on the world for all of Indonesia.

Technical Excellence: VOA’s Vietnamese Service for its website, “VOATiengViet.com,” with its nimble mastery of the platform and intense attention to detail.

Excellence in Relevance:  The OCB for “Estado de SATS,” a TV program which is produced by dissidents inside Cuba and smuggled out to OCB.

Unique VOA/OCB Quality: VOA’s Urdu Service for “Sana, a Pakistani,” a unique 30-minute television program that views life in America through the eyes of a young Pakistani woman who has just arrived in the country.

Excellence in Audience Engagement: VOA’s Russian Service for “Podelis,” a TV/webcast program which on Nov. 1 was the most shared link among Russians discussing the American elections.

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