Senior TV production specialist, Voice of America Indonesian Service
Best known for: Widakuswara is thousands of miles from home but regularly reaches millions of people in her native Indonesia as a Washington-based television journalist for the Voice of America.
Covering major issues of the day from the White House to Capitol Hill and beyond, Widakuswara’s reports are aired regularly on eight of 11 national television stations in Indonesia and numerous local affiliates. She also serves as a senior producer, supervising other staff members and editing news reports.
In her reporting, Widakuswara seeks to make a connection between what is happening in the United States and Indonesia and to find topics that will be of interest to her Indonesian audience.
During the 2012 U.S. presidential race, for example, she said her reporting drew parallels to the Jakarta gubernatorial race that was occurring at the same time. She has reported on the U.S. drone policy, the confirmation fight over CIA Director John O. Brennan and the war against terrorism — all topics of interest in Indonesia, where there have been terrorist bombings and reports of groups with links to al-Qaeda.
She also aired reports from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that focused on how detainees observed Ramadan for her largely Muslim audience and delivered numerous live news feeds when the White House announced the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
The Voice of America broadcasts news and information in 45 languages to an estimated worldwide audience of 134 million. The Indonesian Service provides 55 hours a week of programming on radio and 4.2 hours on television, reaching almost 16 percent of the adult population in a country of 240 million people.
Government work: Widakuswara joined the Voice of America in 2003 as a producer and on-air reporter for the Indonesian Service after working in radio and television in Indonesia and as an assistant producer for BBC Current Affairs and Channel 4 in London.
Motivation for service: Widakuswara loves her job because it “allows me to focus on issues that are important and that I think people of Indonesia should know about. I feel a lot of pride and joy being a part of something bigger than myself and having a connection to humanity.”
Biggest challenge: Getting access to policymakers is difficult.
“Back home, you can come with a camera and get access. Here in Washington, you have to call and send a list of questions. It’s more regulated and regimented.”
Quote: “Our mission is to tell the American story to the world accurately and reliably. We just don’t present the point of view of the government, but explore the issues from all sides of the debate. We try to present the whole debate.”
For a full profile, go to The Fed Page at washingtonpost.com/politics/ federal-government.