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The contractor announcement states:
Stories regarding politics and economics are of particular interest as are those of the dissident movement.The deadline for proposals is May 11.
The contractor will work from the date of the award to Oct. 31. The contract may be extended for four additional one-year periods if the BBG desires.
To be eligible for an award, companies must be registered with the government under NAICS code 512110, reserved for firms doing motion picture and video production.
The BBG paid such companies $12,384,935.45 from April 15, 2002, to April 1, 2015, records show.
Jeff Kline - who leads both Canyon Communications and the Pinyon Foundation - has received $2,249,503 for such work, records show. That's more than any other single individual.
Kline once ran a radio programming contest in Cuba without telling participants that it was funded by the U.S. government. The contest was aborted and no one was awarded any prizes after Cuban authorities arrested development worker Alan Gross in December 2009. (See "Taxpayer Contest Aborted").
Earlier, Kline traveled to Cuba to test cell phones and other wireless devices for a State Department contractor. (See "The Other Alan Gross").
The contractor that the BBG is now looking to hire would report to the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. The announcement states:
The work of the OCB centers around promoting freedom and democracy by providing objective information to the Cuban population that would otherwise be unavailable. OCB produces content that is relevant to the daily lives of Cubans, and the work of human rights activists, journalists, and dissidents.The announcement continues:
The Contractor is responsible for (1) locating, recruiting, hiring, and managing a network of journalists (stringer reporters) in various cities in Cuba in order to provide regular local news and feature reports to OCB (quantity and specifications as described in the deliverables section), (2) managing a network of content distributors of OCB programming in the island, (3) providing a project manager to coordinate between the network on the island of Cuba and OCB, and (4) providing distribution of DVDs throughout Cuba.
The Contractor must ensure that the network contains journalists (stringer reporters) who are able to do the following:
- Conduct interviews and provide fair, accurate, balanced, and objective news and feature stories in Spanish for broadcast on radio, television, mobile and web as required, including breaking news, and deliver news reports and work on short deadlines. (See Voice of America Best Practices Guide).
- Must be able to gather photographs and video, and write, narrate or film (video) verifiable information (by two sources or based on eyewitness reports);
- Must be able to both pitch their own stories and respond to the needs of the OCB newsrooms.
- Must have initiative and develop news stories and ideas independently once a story concept is approved by OCB.
- Must be able to generate original stories, which are subject to approval by OCB prior to work on such stories commencing, and establish a network of sources both in government and outside official channels in order to report on a wide variety of subjects. Stories regarding politics and economics are of particular interest as are those of the dissident movement. The stringers must also be able to identify and cover stories related to civil society, social issues, sports, arts and entertainment; Stringers must have a mobile phone and know how to communicate via SMS, and how to send pictures and videos.
- Must know how to navigate on social media;
- Must also comply with journalistic guidelines and standards set by OCB;
- Stringers shall have journalism or equivalent experience to produce professional quality products. OCB will review their prior experience before they are hired and can submit stories for review;
- Stringers must be able to show valid identification with current and correct information even if they go by a pseudonym, and must be approved by OCB prior to being employed by the Contractor.
Contractor must provide support to OCB in managing and expanding current network of content distributors of OCB programming across Cuba’s 15 provinces and the municipality of Isla de la Juventud by:
- Covering expenses related to the duplication and distribution of both Contractor’s original content and OCB produced content, such as transportation, gas, mileage, and per diem.
The stringers need not be full time employees of the Contractor (i.e. they can be freelancers) but the Contractor shall be solely responsible for all necessary paperwork and payments related to the employment and payment of said stringers, including taxes, tariffs, etc., as applicable.
- Identifying and recruiting locals to guarantee distribution capacity in all Cuban provinces.