Is social media changing the way journalists do their work and communicate with their audience?
That was the subject of a panel discussion, moderated by VOA Director David Ensor, at an event hosted on October 25th by the Goethe Institut, the RIAS Berlin Commission and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Joining Ensor were two of VOA’s social media mavens: Yulia Savchenko, co-host of the Russian Service show Podelis, and Sophat Soeung, the VOA Khmer Service’s new media coordinator.
“A lot of people still think of us as being just on radio, when in fact we are multimedia, which includes television, and the web and especially social media and mobile platforms,” Ensor said. “As VOA Director, I oversee 45 languages services and I like to say we have 45 different marketing strategies.”
Sociologist Theodore Gerber of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who has studied the impact of social media on the political landscape in Russia, joined the discussion via Skype.
Earlier in the day, award-winning VOA Persian journalist Arash Sigarchi participated in a separate panel “New Media – New Freedom?” which explored the impact social media is having in the democratic developments of a state.
Following the two panel discussions, participants took part in a reception at the residence of German Ambassador Peter Ammon. RIAS chairman Erik Bettermann, IBB Director Dick Lobo, a member of the RIAS Commission Board, and former Ambassador Robert Kimmitt were also spotted mingling with the crowd of German and American journalists.
Since 1992, the RIAS Berlin Commission has been working to increase German-American understanding in the field of broadcasting and has hosted many VOA reporters on its fellowship program. Panelist Sophat Soeung recently returned from a two-week exchange in Germany.