VOA made covering diaspora communities in the United States a priority in 2017. The diaspora members provide a unique look at life in America in a way that easily relates to audiences in their home countries. Below some of the stories that generated significant interaction online:
- VOA Russian produced a 26-episode series, Our American Story, built around Russian immigrants. The appeal of free-market capitalism and the role of citizens in a democracy offered a counterpoint to everyday life in Russia.
- The “Beyond the Unicorn” is a documentary featuring African entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. The film profiles individuals from across Africa and explains the financial, technical, and cultural challenges they faced.
- VOA Vietnamese profiled the first Vietnamese-American elected as a mayor in the United States. Tri Ta was elected in Westminster, California, a town that includes a section known as “Little Saigon.” The video profiling Tri Ta, garnered 139,000 views on Facebook and received comments including: “Thank you VOA for such a story … We are proud of him…” and “We the Vietnamese in Vietnam need leaders like him.”
- The Ukrainian service attracted more than 7 million video views of stories showcasing the lives of the Ukrainian diaspora. One of the most popular was a report about a Ukrainian restaurant in New York that recieved more than 660,000 video views and 26,000 reactions, comments, and shares.
- The Horn of Africa’s ‘Oromiyaa Xinnoo’ is a collection of interviews with entrepreneurs, community leaders, and youth in Minnesota. VOA reporter Tigist Geme traveled to the Twin Cities, home to the largest Oromo community in the United States, to research the lives and experiences of African immigrants. Among those profiled were a dishwasher turned millionaire, the founders of an adult daycare for African elders and an Oromo girl growing up between two cultures.
- The Turkish Service launched a web page called the ‘American Dream,’ to highlight and share Turkish-American immigrant stories and biographies. Profiles included a female economy professor in New York, a photographer in Maryland, a DNA researcher who won the Nobel Chemistry Prize, restaurant owners in El Paso, TX, a souvenir store owner in Charleston, NC, an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and a financial advisor in San Antonio, TX.