James Butty Receives Voice of America Gold Medal Award

James Butty Receives Voice of America Gold Medal Award

USA - Liberian ace journalist, James S. Butty, has been chosen as one of the recipients of the 2016 Gold Medal Award for exemplary contributions toward the accomplishments of Voice of America.

“I am happy to share this with the many listeners of Daybreak Africa and those who read my articles on the Internet, especially for those in my native Liberia where it all began,” Butty said.

The Gold Medal Award is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition that the VOA can offer. First, individuals are nominated and voted on by their peers.

The names are then sent to the Gold Medal Selection panelists for selection.

Butty: “I believe this award is proof that whatever your profession – whether janitor, taxi driver, or journalist – if you do it every day with diligence and commitment, your work will one day be highly appreciated.

“I am especially honored because years ago as a young man growing up in Pleebo, Maryland County, Liberia, I barely spoke English.

Then one day, as a senior high school student in St. Francis High School, my parochial school priest encouraged me to listen to international radio stations like the Voice of America and read English publications to improve my English. This exercise paid off.

“The journey to this pinnacle of my professional career has not always been smooth. In the past, I experienced numerous instances of persecution either against me or members of my family. But through it all, I kept it strictly professional – saying and writing the truth and speaking truth to justice.

“My advice to young people today, especially those who might want to embark on the field of journalism is to dream big and work hard”.

What’s Written on the Award

To James Butty: “In recognition of exemplary contributions toward the accomplishment of the mission and goals of the Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors”

Butty’s dream to become a professional journalist, especially radio and television broadcaster began at the Voice of Pleebo, Maryland County, Liberia.

Butty has called on journalists around the world to be professional and consistent in their coverage of both government and the opposition.

He urged them to avoid being journalists of fortune or “brown envelope”. Butty stressed the need for journalist to be prepared to pay the ultimate political and economic price in defense of their profession.

“The only thing you have going for you as a journalist is your credibility. Do not compromise your profession by succumbing to bribery,” he said.


James Butty is the Managing Editor and host of Daybreak Africa, Voice of America’s breakfast show to Africa.  Before joining VOA, Mr. Butty served as the Washington correspondent for West Africa Magazine.

His broadcasting career began in Liberia, where he worked as a volunteer at the Voice of Pleebo, a community radio station in Pleebo, Maryland County. 

He later worked as Assistant News Editor and radio and television newscaster at the Liberia Broadcasting System. 

Mr. Butty has a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from Howard University, a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, and a diploma in radio and television broadcasting from Brown Institute (now Brown College) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.