American radio broadcaster reaches the world

Spread throughout the halls are historic murals depicting historical government acts such as the Social Security Act and the New Deal programs brought about by the Great Depression. These eye-catching pieces of art were painted by artist Ben Shahn in the 1940s.

All of these murals can be seen on a tour of the Voice of America international broadcasting station. They illustrate what the VOA is all about — presenting news about governmental affairs.

Voice of America began radio broadcasts in 1942 to provide quick and reliable news to war-torn countries during World War II. It survived through the end of the war and soon became a multimedia broadcast center that now provides news in more than 43 languages.

“The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell the truth,” said William Harlan Hale, in the first Voice of America broadcast in 1942.

Voice of America was signed into law by President Ford in 1976. The government felt it was necessary to give other nations news in their times of needs. The international broadcaster is government funded and does not broadcast to the United States.

VOA is headquartered in Washington with about 1,151 employees. These employees range from translators to editors to the voice behind mic. Journalists work around the clock to provide a continuous stream of news everywhere around the world. It is broadcasted from the radio, television, mobile and even internet social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With all of these sources, Voice of America reaches out to approximately 141 million people a week.

Many war-torn or corrupt government countries do not have accurate and reliable news sources. Voice of America views its job as providing this for them. VOA’s charter states that it will strive to avoid bias or imbalance in its broadcasts. VOA does not claim to speak for the U.S government nor accepts treatment or assistance from government officials.

Visitors to the Voice of America building can see many of the worlds largest events displayed by pictures on the walls. Throughout the building, the radio broadcast rooms can be seen through large glass windows.