David Ensor completed his stint as director of the Voice of America by addressing a large gathering of staff on his final day last week at VOA’s Washington headquarters. Ensor announced in April he was leaving VOA after leading the government-funded broadcaster since June 2011, RW reported.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA, credited Ensor with the digital transformation of the broadcaster’s newsroom and boosting programming to Africa. The BBG said at the time it would begin a search for Ensor’s successor but no replacement has been named.
Kelu Chao, VOA associate director for Language Programming and acting chief of staff, is serving as the acting VOA director until a full time replacement can be found, according to a BBG spokesperson.
The 28th VOA director posted a farewell message on VOA’s English website: “The VOA team can be enormously proud of what we have accomplished together. In the last four years, VOA has faced many challenges: from shrinking budgets, to propaganda broadcasts from Russia and China, to the rise of ISIS and an outbreak of Ebola.”
“Back in 2011, when I first walked into the VOA newsroom, we were producing more than 70 news items a day, most of them based entirely on the wires,” stated Ensor. “That was the right model for VOA in past years, but not for the faster-paced news organization we must be today. In 2015, VOA’s language services also have access to the wires, and their journalism is of a higher standard than ever before.”
Ensor continued: “VOA has also had to defend itself from sometimes ill-conceived legislative and internal reform proposals. Today, the Voice of America is reaching 172 million people a week at last count.”
Prior to joining VOA, the 64-year-old Ensor was director of Communications and Public Diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. For 30+ years, he was a radio and television correspondent for broadcasters such as NPR, ABC News and CNN.