The series was launched by the News Center after the election of President Donald Trump to help illustrate the diversity in the United States by exploring small towns and rural areas and talking to the people who live there. VOA reporters traveled to a stretch of rural counties along the upper Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. They explained the views of voters in counties that turned from supporting the Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama in previous elections to the Republican Donald Trump in 2016. The series combines beautiful footage with a compassionate listening style. The VOA team spoke with many along the way who felt they were among the “forgotten men and women” that Trump promised to champion.
The series is important in that it provides a window into differences in American culture and lifestyles, something that is unique about the United States, and is sometimes difficult for those in other countries to understand. It is also timely amid anti-U.S. propaganda, including Russian disinformation, which tries to create an image of a dysfunctional America. The series was versioned into 12 languages and garnered tens of thousands of engagements on social media.
Bronze medal winner at the New York Film Festival.