Largest U.S. International Broadcaster Moves Global Newsrooms Remotely into Journalists’ Homes During COVID-19 Pandemic

Voice of America | March 31, 2020

As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, Voice of America has moved its entire global newsroom remotely into the homes of hundreds of its journalists around the world in order to continue coverage of this historic moment.  VOA is the nation’s largest international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 280 million people.

The coronavirus global health crisis has forced Voice of America’s nearly 50 separate newsrooms out of studio facilities and into its journalists’ homes across the world.  VOA journalists are taking an innovative approach to designing in-home broadcasting studios to continue their coverage of the top global stories of the day. Reporting on the coronavirus in hot spots around the world from China, the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Russia and dozens of other countries dominates VOA’s more than 1,800 hours of weekly programming.

“I am constantly in awe of the creativity and ingenuity of our journalists who are committed to continuing to provide a free and fair press regardless of how dire the situation,” said Amanda Bennett, Voice of America Director.  “COVID-19 has created enormous challenges to our global newsroom operations, which has been met by a blossoming level of innovation by our reporters, producers and editors to adapt to news reporting during this global pandemic.”

Journalists have turned to creative, at-home techniques (a few examples included below) ranging from coat closets doubling as radio studios and clothing as soundproofing material to journalists broadcasting live to affiliates from their bathrooms with shower curtains featuring the U.S. Capitol as backdrops.

  • THE COAT CLOSET SET:  VOA’s Korean journalist turns a coat closet into a radio & video production studio.  The Korean service has been producing video programming remotely since March 17 with many challenges, including how to minimize background noise when narrating a script from home. VOA Korean reporter, Seeyoung Kim, turned a closet full of clothes into a soundproofed studio and makeshift recording booth in order to muffle background noise.

          **A Photo and B-roll footage of Korean service’s home studio production available at the hyperlinks:

          (Video / Photo )

  • THE SHOWER CURTAIN BACKDROP & BATHROOM TV STUDIO: VOA’s Latin America service’s broadcast reporter goes live from her bathroom with shower curtain as studio backdrop.  Broadcasting live to affiliates in Latin America, Celia Mendoza, a VOA Spanish service broadcaster, produces live remotes from her bathroom, turning the space into a television studio with a Washington, D.C.-themed shower curtain as a backdrop.

          **Click here for photos and B-roll footage of bathroom television studio: (Video / Photo)

  • THE IRONING BOARD ANCHOR DESK: VOA Bosnia service transforms living room into a TV studio and ironing board into an anchor desk. Transforming his living room into a self-isolation studio for live TV interviews to affiliate stations in Bosnia, VOA’s Bosnian service journalist, Dino Jahic, uses his ironing board to double as an anchor desk to set up an in-home camera on his laptop for live broadcasts.

         **Click here for B-roll and photos of living room television studio and ironing board anchor desk:                    (Video / Photo / Photo )

  • THE PLASTIC TABLECLOTH GREEN SCREEN: VOA Armenian service journalist turns $1 green, plastic tablecloth into an in-home green screen. Arman Tarjimanyan, reporter for VOA’s Armenian service, improvised a green screen in his home with a $1 green, plastic tablecloth taped to the wall to record stand-up news segments.  

          **Click here for a photo and B-roll footage of transforming a $1 green, plastic tablecloth into

          at-home green screen: (Video / Photo)

  • VOA CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COVERAGE – Various home locations ( Video )

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