The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2015 First-Year Fellow: Julia Decerega '18

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Voice of America (VOA), where I worked as a First-Year Fellow this summer, is a large international broadcaster that provides globally focused news to over a hundred countries around the world. With around forty-five language services, Voice of America is able to reach an audience of over 170 million people weekly. As part of its charter, the organization pledges to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news, represent America, not any single segment of American society, and present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively”.

Julia Decerega '18 films a weekly program for the VOA in the green room.

The most rewarding part of my internship was having a close, personal interaction with the audience of VOA. As a significant part of my duties included managing social media, I interacted personally with viewers and listeners and talk to them one-on-one. Every morning, I shared the headlines of the day through “Whatsapp” with people in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea, Brazil, and Portugal. This was a really good exercise in self-awareness. I learned to tell whether or not readers found my particular summaries interesting, and whether I had made an impact on their day or not.

I also started to notice what kind of greeting messages caught their attention the most. I made my exchanges more personal and immediately saw results. A “good morning, how is your day going?” always seemed to make the audience more likely to interact and share their stories. This kind of care also made them notice if I sent the news late, or if I missed sending them one day. I saw them start to appreciate my work and even thank me directly for sending them news everyday. When the team posted a picture of me at my “farewell party”, I got many comments thanking me for my work and telling me I would be missed. That was the most rewarding part of the job, knowing that I made a real impact and contributed to the daily production at VOA.
-Written by Julia Decerega '18

This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

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