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VOA Snapshot: Public Affairs Programming - 2002-08-29

One of VOA's longest running shows is Press Conference, USA.

Each Saturday on VOA News Now, a theme signals the start of a free-ranging half-hour interview of a prominent newsmaker by a panel of reporters.

The topics are often weighty.

"The United States is prepared to use its military forces, under certain circumstances, in an effort to curtail terrorism."

That comment from then-Secretary of State George Shultz in a 1986 Press Conference USA would seem to still be true.

Sometimes, Press Conference USA looks at some aspect of American history or society, as in this appearance by New York Governor Mario Cuomo in 1993.

"People have come to New York from all over the globe, from the minute we opened for business as a new nation. The nation's first capital was in New York City. My mother and father came, 12 to 13 generations of immigrants came. They start in New York," Mr. Cuomo said.

Press Conference USA is just one of our weekend talk shows. The others are Encounter, a debate program, and Issues in the News, where reporters discuss and analyze world events. The senior producer of all those shows is Neal Lavon.

"The purpose of the public affairs programs is to bring interesting people on who can express the wide range of ideas and opinion that are under discussion in the United States. And what better way to bring them to our international audience than to hear them from the people themselves who are making these points? That's the purpose of these shows," Mr. Lavon said.

To write to us about our anniversary, send an email to Or send regular mail to Anniversary, VOA News Now, Washington, D.C. 20237, USA.