Delivering Africa’s News at Voice of America

By Dean’s Intern Taameen Mohammad at Voice of America

Taameen in group shot at VOAHow do you convey news from Washington, D.C. to a continent of over 1.2 billion people? I can say it takes a lot more than throwing a white British man to a safari. Since January, I’ve gotten a hands-on approach on what happens behind the scenes of Voice of America’s English TV to Africa department. As an intern, I’ve worked with a lot of talented producers and reporters in charge of different broadcast programs from talk shows to news shows covering all of the continent. I usually start the day working on the daily news show Africa 54 which covers all the current events and trends. I’ll run teleprompter, cut b-roll, hand scripts, and I’ve even made my own packages that have aired on the show. When Africa 54 has wrapped up, my co-interns and I will cut the segments and post on Youtube. We’ll quickly get ready for the talk shows like Straight Talk Africa, which has over 1 million Facebook followers. Straight Talk Africa is a political talk show that gathers reporters from across Africa and analysts who share their insights on what’s emerging from the continent. My work behind the scenes includes gathering social media comments, cutting segments from the show, escorting guests down to Straight Talk Africa, and running teleprompter. Though the responsibilities never leave you bored, the opportunity to explore the nuances of African issues is such an important one I’ve taken advantage of.

What this internship has really driven home for me is that no country or continent is ever inseparable from its past. This was especially true for my package on an event in IA & A at Hillyear in downtown D.C. where they hosted two South African female poets and two D.C. area female poets. The event was to commemorate South Africa’s Freedom Day, the day black South Africans were granted the right to vote in post-Apartheid elections. These South African poets were not only part of the youth, but part of the born free generation born after Apartheid. Hearing how their lives as youth have been shaped by the past and have influenced their expectations of a free world was incredibly insightful to how South Africa lives post-Apartheid. My internship at English TV to Africa in VOA really gave me an inside look at broadcast journalism and foreign correspondence, reaffirming my commitment to both fields.