No, We Do Not Need to Revive the U.S. Information Agency – endnote edition

Cheshire cat queries Alice

You know you’ve heard it. Whether it was at the office, at school, or a social setting (how erudite of you!), you heard someone bemoan the loss of the United States Information Agency. Perhaps that someone was you. In my experience, these laments are really a coded acknowledgment that the U.S. lacks a strategy, an organizing principle, and empowered individuals to operate in an information-driven world. Continue reading “No, We Do Not Need to Revive the U.S. Information Agency – endnote edition”

Commentary: Democracy is not just another ideology; freedom is not just another point of view

At the recent public meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Public Diplomacy Council President, and Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California, Adam Clayton Powell, III, offered his comments on the direction of BBG media. His words are a must read, whether in the context of journalism in general but particularly in the area of foreign affairs reporting.  Continue reading “Commentary: Democracy is not just another ideology; freedom is not just another point of view”

From the past: FBIS and World War II

The below comes from an article highlighted by Don Bishop at the Public Diplomacy Council website, which cited me as the provisioner of the quote.  

In late 1940, the State Department was concerned about ‘anti-American propaganda being short-waved hourly to Latin America.’ The Department of Justice was concerned whether ‘Axis agents in the United States received direction and guidance from Nazi short-wave programs,’ plus a growing concern about ‘the growing aggressiveness of Japan as reflected in her radio broadcasts.’ In addition to wanting to know what was coming into the United States, State, and others saw foreign government broadcasts as a necessary insight.   Continue reading “From the past: FBIS and World War II”

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #76

September 2, 2015

Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome.

Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #76”

Thoughts about CBS Evening News going to VOA’s Steve Herman for Bangkok bombing coverage

This was originally published as an exclusive to email subscribers on August 18. It appears here following requests to forward that email and that I post it here. It remains my personal opinion.

Last night’s CBS Evening News threw to VOA’s Steve Herman to provide on-the-scene coverage of the Bangkok bombing. VOA’s video coverage of the site was broadcast by CBS with the text ‘Voice of America’ visible on the screen (a text bug, rather than VOA’s normal graphic bug). This was not a copy from the VOA website (or more precisely, the BBG affiliate system used by some 2,800 news media users around the globe where broadcast quality / HD content is available for worldwide) as CBS threw to Steve Herman by name, and Steve concluded the story by throwing it back – by name – to the CBS anchor.  Continue reading “Thoughts about CBS Evening News going to VOA’s Steve Herman for Bangkok bombing coverage”

Swimming the English Channel – the report

The track of our boat (courtesy:

The crossing was amazing! All of the pent up adrenalin that had been building for weeks, the cold water training, and then, finally, after a delay of a day, we were told the evening of Wednesday July 29 that our team was slotted to start our swim at 830 the next morning. We were a group of swimmers that workout together at the local athletic club’s pool. One of our number thought it would be great to swim the Channel, though none of had thought about swimming in, let alone through – the Channel. We then found Aspire, a great charity that helps people paralysed by spinal injuries, would facilitate our crossing and we raised more than £10,000 for the cause.  Our international group had Frenchmen, Kiwis, one German, a Canadian, and me, the token American (and the only one with actual open water race experience). Continue reading “Swimming the English Channel – the report”

Quoting History: Information as an essential component of foreign policy

“Events in the past year have made a United States Government information program more important than ever. Information is one of the three essential components in carrying out United States foreign policy — the other two, of course, being military and economic. Each has its function to perform in this great struggle for the minds of men, and each has, or should have, an equally high place in the strategic plan.”

— First Semiannual Report of the Advisory Commission on Information, March 1949.

In 1949, the Cold War was in full swing. Barely four years earlier, the White House and the Congress set about to make various programs permanent in the post-war world. These efforts included various information programs — radio, libraries, press feeds, motion pictures, books, and other publications — and various exchange programs — educational, cultural, and technical. There was one primary authority for these — the eventually named Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 — and several supplementary programs — the Fulbright Act and Defense Department information programs run in Japan and Germany/Austria.  Continue reading “Quoting History: Information as an essential component of foreign policy”

The Smith-Mundt Act: A legislative history from 1953 by Burton Paulu

This 1953 Journalism Quarterly article by Burton Paulu entitled “Smith-Mundt Act- A legislative history” (3.7mb PDF) is an interesting and short read for anyone wanting to know more about the early discussions around the start of U.S. public diplomacy. The timing of this particular paper is interesting. Continue reading “The Smith-Mundt Act: A legislative history from 1953 by Burton Paulu”