Using multiple media platforms and producing a myriad of news and feature reports, BBG networks provided extensive coverage of the recent Republican and Democratic national conventions as part of their on-going reporting of the U.S. election process.
For many people around the world, the networks served as the only source of accurate and unbiased coverage of the conventions, at the end of which Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination from their respective political parties for president of the United States.
The VOA’s comprehensive multi-platform coverage of the Republican Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia reached millions of viewers, listeners and readers around the world.
The network provided live coverage of Trump’s and Clinton’s acceptance speeches that were streamed live in English on the web and Facebook with simultaneous translation in Farsi, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish at the Republican Convention, and in Farsi, Creole, Russian and Spanish at the Democratic Convention. Each of these translations garnered many views and engagements.
In addition, many VOA language services used reports by the Central News division, resulting in millions of online readers and viewers.
Republican convention highlights
- Coverage by VOA Amharic, Hausa, Portuguese, Somali and Swahili received a total of 1.1 million video views and more than 2.2 million total post engagements.
- VOA Mandarin produced three hour-long Facebook Live TV shows featuring dozens of high-ranking Republican officials, plus delegates and protesters. The shows reached 103,156 people and garnered nearly 25,000 views.
- In an interview with VOA Persian, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the first sitting senators to back Trump, defended the Republican nominee’s promise to renegotiate the comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran.
Democratic convention highlights
- VOA Spanish provided live coverage of major speeches throughout the convention to affiliates in 16 countries in Latin America. Clinton’s acceptance speech was viewed by some 150,000 people on the service’s Facebook page, while excerpts of other major speeches received more than 200,000 views.
- VOA Indonesian’s exclusive Facebook Live interview with Ima Matul, an Indonesian victim of human trafficking who spoke at the convention, received more than 100,000 views and more than 22,000 comments.
- VOA Urdu interviewed convention speaker Khizr Khan, father of U.S. soldier of Muslim faith killed in Iraq in 2004, about his criticism of Trump. Aaj News and Express Television in Pakistan carried the report.
The Middle East Broadcasting Networks shared the American democratic experience with their audiences in the Middle East. MBN’s Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa had more than 15 correspondents at the conventions each day to report and provide context using television, radio and digital platforms. Alhurra’s coverage far exceeded that of any other Arabic-language television network. In addition to reports and updates from the conventions throughout the day, Alhurra’s Road to the White House had special live coverage of the speeches each night and repeats during the morning hours in the Middle East. The network also had live coverage of the roll call votes for both political parties.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa conducted more than 100 interviews over the eight days the conventions were held, including U.S. lawmakers such as Congressman Keith Ellison, foreign policy advisors to Republican nominee Donald Trump, Pastor Mark Burns, who spoke at the Republican convention, and Arab-American delegates on the convention floors. The networks also hosted a wide variety of commentators to explain the role of conventions and what the American public wants in its next president.
Alhurra’s feature reports gave viewers insight into the conventions that cannot be found on other Arabic-language channels. One such report interviewed American women about the possibility of having the first female president and what that would mean to them. The network also looked at cultural diversity and the role it plays in the presidential election, including a report from Minnesota on the Somali-American community and its feelings about the upcoming election. Other reports looked back at the history surrounding the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S.
Many of the speeches during the conventions were also streamed live on Alhurra’s Facebook page with Arabic translation. Radio Sawa’s newscasts included excerpts from the key speeches at each convention.