Veteran Broadcaster Jewel Forde Returns from U.S. Embassy Sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program
“It was one of the most valuable experiences of my career,” declared veteran broadcaster Jewel Forde, speaking of her recent visit to the United States for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on TV Broadcast Journalism.
Forde, along with several other IVLP Fellows from around the world, travelled to Washington, DC, Minneapolis and San Francisco in the summer for the IVLP which focused on the history, structure, practices and trends of television broadcast journalism in the U.S.
Over the course of two weeks, IVLP participants examined the role of television as a medium that both influences and reflects American society and explored the current and potential contributions of television broadcast journalism to the formation of an informed citizenry within a diverse, democratic, decentralized society.
The IVLP is the Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. While there are different versions of the program based upon both profession and number of countries involved in a given program, all have the objective of bringing together emerging leaders in their respective professions to learn from how U.S. experts in this profession operate, and to share best practices with the other program fellows who hail from either the same world region and often the globe.
The first five days of the program were spent in the U.S. capital, Washington, DC, where they toured the U.S. House of Representatives and got an overview of the work of the House Radio-Television Gallery. They also visited the Federal Communications Commission, the Foreign Press Center of the U.S. Department of State, and Howard University’s television station WHUT and met with officials at these organizations.
Forde then moved on to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a more local look at the broadcast industry. Along with her IVLP colleagues, she visited the Risdall Marketing Group, the Minnesota Broadcasters Association, the Twin Cities Media Alliance and two local stations including CBS affiliate WCCO-TV and public access Channel 12. The group learned about Channel 12’s innovative citizen journalism project that trains members of the public in basic journalism and then allows them to use camera equipment from the station to tell their own story.
The last stop was in San Francisco, California, where much of the focus was on the future of broadcast journalism. Forde and the IVLP fellows went on trips to the YouTube headquarters as well as to Justin.TV, a video platform that allows people to post live streaming video. At YouTube, they met with the five year old company’s News Manager Olivia Ma with whom they engaged in a lively discussion about citizen journalism and YouTube’s monitoring processes.
At Justin.TV, CEO Michael Siebel met with the IVLP fellows directly to explain the inner workings of his company, the largest live video community in the world.
Forde said she returned from her trip inspired and reinvigorated, noting: “Sometimes on a small island … it is easy to feel isolated and to believe that other media houses have access to all the resources they need to the job demanded of them. The IVLP program has allowed me to see that media professionals everywhere are going through similar problems and are having the same challenges… This program renewed my belief that broadcasting was the right career choice and even though it has its challenges, it is the field where I intend to remain.”