In its first full day in office, the Biden administration dismissed the director of Voice of America, Robert Reilly, and his deputy, Elizabeth Robbins, and replaced them with journalists with long careers at VOA and other state-funded networks, according to a statement from the US Agency for Global Media, which oversees the media outlets.
Michael Pack, CEO of Agency for Global Media, resigned at the request of the Biden administration two hours after Joe Biden became President. Mr Pack was appointed by the Trump-administration and has been accused of undermining the network’s editorial independence.
Robert Reilly was replaced by Yolanda Lopez, a news editor who will serve as acting director at VOA and who had been recently removed from her position by Robert Reilly himself, when one of the journalists under her supervision shouted questions at then-Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo at an event at Voice of America headquarters.
Yolanda is a veteran journalist and producer who has served as Director of the VOA News Center, overseeing all editorial and content production. She led the implementation of the transition of the News Center to a digital first strategy, including content priorities, adoption of new techniques, invigoration of social media content, and in-depth coverage of issues of interest to VOA audiences. In addition, Yolanda oversaw the Office of Special Events, responsible for coordination of VOA’s coverage of significant events. She joined VOA in 2015 as Latin America Division Director, where she achieved significant audience growth by expanding media partnerships and affiliations.
A native of Barcelona, Spain, she started her career in broadcasting at a Telemundo affiliate in Irving, Texas, before joining the Spanish language television network Univision affiliates KMEX-TV in Los Angeles, California and WGBO-TV in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout her professional career, she has worked as on-air talent, writer, producer, executive producer and news director in highly competitive news markets. Her main area of expertise has been Latin America and the Latino community in the U.S.