Country music explored as a tool of U.S. diplomacy

WASHINGTON – It is well known that Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck toured the world as American Jazz Ambassadors, and American symphony orchestras have played throughout the world. Less well known is the role country music has played and is playing in U.S. public diplomacy. That was the focus of this month's CCLP Communication Leadership Lunch Forum here, presented by David Firestein (pictured right), a China expert and vice president at the East West Institute. "For public diplomacy to be effective," said Firestein, "it has to be organic, personal and emotional." He added that it must be "true to who…

U.S. international broadcasters work to achieve credibility, and understanding, in the Middle East

WASHINGTON — "Oh are you working for the CIA now?" That is how Samir Nader, State Department correspondent for Radio Sawa described his friends' reaction when he joined the U.S. radio network beamed to the Middle East. But the key to their acceptance, and their large audiences, is that they are the only full-time correspondents covering the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department in Arabic language broadcasting. So people in Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries can see and hear that they are getting the news direct from Washington. And they can see that Americans disagree — and…

U.S. Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission considers role beyond the State Department

WASHINGTON – Katherine Brown, Executive Director of the U.S. Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission, speaking at this week's CCLP Communications Leadership Forum here, said she was contemplating expand its review of public diplomacy to include agencies beyond the State Department – notably the Department of Defense. Katherine Brown, Executive Director of the U. S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and Chris Hensman, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Brown's statement was in response to a question, the questioner noting that some agencies – especially the Pentagon – have far more resources than State. And the first sentence…

US launches new initiatives to combat Russian information "weaponization"

WASHINGTON – New initiatives by U.S. international broadcasting to counter Russian propaganda were the focus of this month's CCLP Washington Communication Leadership forum here yesterday. Jeffrey Trimble, Deputy Director of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, said the innovations are in response to what he called Russia's "weaponization" of international news and information. Left to right: Jeffrey N. Trimble, Deputy Director of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau; Alen Mlatisuma, Internet Managing Editor, Voice of America Eurasia Divisision; and William Harrison Courtney, former U.S. ambassador and Executive Director, RAND Business Leaders Forum. One of the new ventures described by Trimble is "Current…

‘Journalism alone’ not enough to combat ISIS media messages

WASHINGTON – The propaganda spread by ISIS is more powerful and sophisticated than Al Qaeda's media messages of just a few years ago. So now, "journalism alone" is not sufficient for the U.S. to combat the Islamic state's media campaign. That was the message from two U.S. international broadcasting executives, Shameem Rassam, Executive Producer of Alhurra Iraq, and Davin Hutchins, Director of Digital Content for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, at Monday's CCLP Communication Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. Left to right: Shameem Rassam, Davin Hutchins, and Donald Bishop, President of the Public Diplomacy Council. Where Al Qaeda relied on…

International journalists discuss global conflicts, propaganda, and online media at CCLP forum

Journalists from Germany and Russia joined USC Annenberg students, faculty and special guests to share their first hand accounts of the physical dangers and moral dilemmas of reporting on international conflicts like the war in Ukraine at Covering Global Conflict, the first in a series organized by USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) and School of Journalism, along with the Pacific Council on International Policy (PCIP). More than 100 students, journalists, and Pacific Council members attended the forum, which was among the first special events held in USC’s new Wallis Annenberg Hall. The conversation was moderated by CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan and introduced by Willow…

Covering Global Conflict: New series of conversations hosted by CCLP and the Pacific Council on International Policy

USC Annenberg's Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) and School of Journalism, along with the Pacific Council on International Policy (PCIP), are launching a new public series, Covering Global Conflict, which will examine differences in how international media are covering major flashpoints around the world. "These conversations offer exciting and important opportunities to understand how media in various countries see and interpret events through their own distinctive prism," said Geoffrey Cowan, CCLP director and co-chair of the series. "At USC we emphasize the importance of discussing not only how America sees the world, but how the world is seeing America."…

U.S. in Africa: Playing Catchup to China

WASHINGTON – On the eve of the historic US-Africa Summit here, America's number one objective on the African continent is to start closing the gap with China. That was the message from all three speakers at Monday's CCLP Communication Leadership lunch just a few blocks from the State Department. "There is no place in Africa where you do not see China," said Ron Nixon, who has covered several African countries for the New York Times. "They are in every aspect of business. The U.S. is far behind." Left to right: Ron Nixon, NY Times; Joan Mower, BBG; and Mwamoyo Hamza,…

Is the US losing the propaganda war with Russia?

WASHINGTON — Moscow's propaganda machine has vastly outmatched the U.S., according to speakers here today at the June CCLP Washington Communication Leadership forum. "Russia has spent the past twenty years building up," said William Stevens, Director of the Ukraine Communications Task Force at the U.S. State Department, while Washington spent two decades dialing back. Left to right: WIlliam Stevens, Director of the Ukraine Communications Task Force at the U.S. State Department; Myroslava Gongadze, TV anchor and reporter at Voice of America's Ukrainian Service; and Nenad Pejic, Interim Manager of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Kremlin's aggressive media campaign is effective…