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VOA Experts to Discuss Press Freedom, Best News Practices at VOA Museum “Oxygen of Journalism” Event

March 6, 2023 | Karl R. Ulrich

Journalism: The Oxygen of Democracy

SS+D is a proud sponsor of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting – The Oxygen of Democracy Lecture Series.

Voice of America press freedom and best practices experts in Washington, D.C., will be virtual guests at a presentation and Q&A forum Thursday, March 23 at the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester.

The event is part of the museum’s “Journalism: The Oxygen of Democracy” series.

Sebaly, Shillito and Dyer and the Miami University Menard Family Center for Democracy are sponsors. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. While admission is free, seating is limited to 100 people, so advance registration is required.

Jessica Jerreat, VOA press freedom editor, and Steven Springer, VOA news standards and best practices editor, will speak live from Washington, D.C. via a big screen located at the VOA museum, then answer audience questions.

Jerreat leads VOA’s award-winning press freedom coverage, which takes an in-depth look at the challenges and risks to media globally.

Prior to joining VOA in March 2020, Jerreat worked at the intersection of press freedom and international news for organizations including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, where she edited reports on global censorship and attacks on the press, and The Times of London.

VOA’s dedicated press freedom coverage, led by Jerreat, won the inaugural Association for International Broadcasting media freedom award in 2021. She was part of the reporting team presented the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Press Criticism award for coverage of events taking place in VOA’s own newsroom.

Jerreat and a VOA team won the award for their “thoughtful and deliberately in-depth coverage of how the former U.S. Agency of Global Media CEO, Michael Pack, a President Trump appointee, attempted to dismantle the organization’s editorial independence,” according to the award citation.

VOA’s reporting for foreign audiences generally goes unnoticed in the U.S., but its role as a bastion for free press became a national news story in the final years of the Trump administration when former USAGM CEO Michael Pack took actions related to VOA’s statutory firewall, including stopping the renewal of J-1 visas for newly hired foreign-born journalists that allow them to live in the U.S. and work for VOA.

Springer has been a journalist and media executive for more than four decades.

Before joining VOA, he worked for CNN for 23 years, where he and other CNN staff received a Peabody Award for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. He was also cited by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for CNN’s coverage of 9/11.

Most notably, Springer served as network pool producer for the U.S. networks’ coverage of the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, which entailed months-long coordination between the networks, the convention committee and the Republican Convention Committee and culminated in producing four days of convention coverage provided to the networks and subscribers.

He was also the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for VOA’s contracts with Agence France Presse, Associated Press and Reuters for video, photos, graphics and text, ensuring that technical, editorial and budget requirements are met. He is now launching a news standards process at VOA’s companion network, Radio Free Asia.

“We have many media choices where we can access news,” said Jack Dominic, museum director. “But all news is not equal. This program will outline what VOA and other respected, mainstream media organizations require regarding fairness and best practices in reporting so Americans can make choices that ensure they receive balanced, accurate news.”

RSVPs are requested by Tuesday, March 21. To RSVP, email or call (513) 777-0027. Donations will be accepted.

VOA is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, reaching a weekly global audience of more than 326 million people in 48 languages in nearly 100 countries. VOA programs are delivered on multiple platforms, including radio, television, web and mobile via a network of more than 3,000 media outlets worldwide. The news organization is funded by the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent federal agency.

VOA news from around the world can be accessed at

The VOA Bethany Relay Station in West Chester was known for its high-powered rhombic antenna system, which transmitted VOA news to Europe and northern Africa during World War II and South America during the Cold War to countries that lacked a free press. Bethany Station was decommissioned by the federal government in 1994 and now houses the VOA museum.

For information, visit Museum hours are weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, free for those under 16. The museum is located at 8070 Tylersville Road.

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