Voice of America is 79 years old today.
Its 1942 debut was unpretentious -- a live, 15-minute shortwave radio broadcast transmitted into Germany from a small studio in New York City.
Now, the U.S.-funded but independent VOA reaches more than 280 million people across the globe each week in more than 40 languages.
Its stories, covering the range of the human existence in the United States and countries throughout the world, appear on digital, television and radio platforms and can be accessed on mobile phones and social media. VOA stories are carried on a network of more than 2,500 affiliate stations.
In the first broadcast in 1942, a little more than seven weeks after the United States officially entered World War II, listeners first heard an American patriotic song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Then, announcer William Harlan Hale said, “We bring you Voices from America. Today, and daily from now on, we shall speak to you about America and the war. The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”
It is a credo that since 1976 is embedded in the VOA Charter, which by law requires the organization to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” It says VOA news must “be accurate, objective and comprehensive.”
VOA is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the government agency that oversees all non-military, U.S. international broadcasting.
VOA’s professional journalists produce dozens of stories every day without interference from the U.S. government.