HOWL – VOA journalist's view of management – Part One


Without the grossly exploited POVs, VOA would be little more than Kafkaesque hallways of frustrated bureaucrats with no one to boss around. – Anonymous VOA journalist

A Voice of America journalist who uses a pen name Mary Jane has posed this problem:
As we stand on the precipice of collapse, crumbling and leaderless, fearing for our jobs while simultaneously wishing to be released from this torturous slow decay, a keen look at our so-called management is due.
Mary Jane promised to provide that look in several installments.
The series is titled “HOWL.”
Part One

“And yet, and yet, the corridors of the third and fourth floor continue to be staffed by those who do little but sign in and sign out, working desperately to be considered FoS (friends of Steve’s) while producing nothing. (Enhancement Team, for instance?) They toil every day, pushing papers, attending meetings, sending emails with words like “workflow” and “high value content,” words never heard at other news organizations, while the services, the actual journalists, are loaded with additional bureaucratic demands assigned by do-nothing managers. Without the grossly exploited POVs, VOA would be little more than Kafkaesque hallways of frustrated bureaucrats with no one to boss around.”

POVs – Purchase Order Vendors – are contract employees who usually work full time and do the same kind of work as regular government workers but at low pay (unless they are friends of top executives) and without any benefits, regular pay raises or most legal protections. Exploiting POVs and cutting broadcasting services have enabled Broadcasting Board of Governors managers to keep expanding their ranks and to protect their jobs.



  1. Avatar
    anonymous 15 February, 2012 at 14:55 Reply

    Yep, that is the size of it. Not only does VOA have too many managers, it has many weirdly bad managers. There is a culture of meanness and bullying among them. It adds up to a news organization that functions despite management, barely.

  2. Avatar
    Anonymous 15 February, 2012 at 16:43 Reply

    Bullseye! I couldn’t have summed up the BBG malaise better myself. The technical people of the operation are at least as misused as the journalists. We constantly are blamed for the mistakes of inexperienced and inept “producers” who have never seen the inside of a broadcast facility. Yet when we save their butts…”you’re just doing your job!” Congress and/or the media needs to blow the cover off this rogue agency.

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous 15 February, 2012 at 17:30 Reply

    I’ve worked at VOA for years in central news and elsewhere and I have no faith that mid-level and top management will do all they can to retain senior employees and those with experience. They will spend the rest of the year fiddling with the regulations to protect their own along with the recent wave of younger workers who have little experience, modest reporting and writing skills, and are unaware of any event pre-Clinton administration. VOA managers blatantly play favorites. I’ve seen it happen before.

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