OMG! Meiyu Host Jessica Beinecke Wins AIB Founders’ Award

Washington — Jessica Beinecke, host and creator of VOA’s online English-Chinese teaching program, OMG! Meiyu, is the 2012 winner of the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Founders’ Award.

In addition, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) services Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) all had nominations that were recognized as “highly commended” by the AIB.

Beinecke’s award was presented in London Wednesday night at the AIB Global Media Excellence Awards gala, which attracted broadcast journalists from around the world.

“I am so excited that OMG! Meiyu received such an amazing honor,” Jessica said.  “Each episode has originated from a user-suggested topic, so I can’t wait to get back to China to share this award with the fans who make OMG! happen.”

Simon Spanswick, the Chief Executive of the AIB, said he was “impressed with the way OMG! has been used to teach audiences in China.”  The award citation noted Jessica’s “impressive enthusiasm and digital expertise has ensured rapid viral success for this highly-innovative teaching program.”

The online video blog became an overnight Internet sensation in China last year with the release of Yucky Gunk, a user requested episode that explained the way young people in the United States talk about personal hygiene.  All of the OMG! episodes explain modern slang used in America.

“We are so proud of Jessica and what she has done with this innovative and creative program,” said VOA Director David Ensor.  “OMG! Meiyu and other VOA English teaching programs help build bridges with our audience and that is an important part of what we do.”

The English teaching videos and podcasts, which are available on the VOA Mandarin website, YouTube, the iTunes store and dozens of social media sites, have been viewed more than 15 million times.  Every week, new episodes are introduced.

MBN’s Afia Darfur, an all-news and information program that focuses on the latest news from Sudan and the plight of displaced people in Darfur and eastern Chad, was recognized for its coverage of Kabkabiya Violence. “The importance of this story is immense – it took courage and understanding to produce,” judges said.

The judges called RFA’s An Invisible World – The Lives of Slaves in Modern Asia an  “excellent series, telling previously hidden stories.” Based on RFA’s award-winning online human trafficking series, the half-hour documentary film represents the research and work of videographers spanning a year.

Enferadi (Solitary Confinement) by Vahid Pour Ostad, of RFE/RL’s  Radio Farda was cited for its “high levels of creativity and variety in the resources used” in telling the story of Iranian political prisoners and their daily struggle for survival in the prisons of post-revolutionary Iran