Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori
Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan take questions from reporters in the tunnel under the Capitol.

Congress put together a $2T dollar relief package. What happens next?

Congress has put together the largest financial relief package in history. Will it be enough to blunt the economic decline in the U.S? And what will it mean for Alaska's economy and workers?

LISTEN: As coronavirus shuts down schools across Alaska, educators are figuring out what happens next

Schools across the state are closed until at least March 30th. In a state that has low or no internet in some areas, how are districts working to meet the educational, nutritional and mental health needs of students?

LISTEN: How emergency officials and first responders are preparing for coronavirus

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. What does that mean for state emergency planners?

LISTEN: Legends of the last great race are here to celebrate Iditarod 2020

What can we expect from this year's field of racers? How have trail conditions and sled designs changed over the decades? And who's trail stories are the most…hellacious? It's all about the Iditarod when race icons Jeff King and DeeDee Jonrowe join us.

LISTEN: It’ll take more than money to bring the Alaska Marine Highway back to life

The ferry system is completely offline right now, with residents facing empty shelves and upended plans. Temporary contractors may help in the short term, but what will it cost Alaskans and what's the long term solution?

LISTEN: Gov. Mike Dunleavy returns to discuss resolving the state budget stalemate

Gov. Mike Dunleavy released his budget plan in December with a full permanent fund dividend and a $1.5 billion deficit for legislators to grapple with.
A picture of a large cardboard box and a pile vape pens in ziplock bags on a table.

LISTEN: To combat teen vaping in Alaska schools, educators and state officials work together

Teen vaping is a growing problem nationwide, with the CDC reporting that one in four students use vaping products. But what’s inside the liquid being vaporized? And how will it affect teenager’s health?

LISTEN: How serious is the novel coronavirus?

There are confirmed cases in the U.S. and a chartered flight evacuated Americans from China through the Anchorage airport before arriving in California. But how big should this concern be compared to annual influenza infections? Should countries shut down international travel?

LISTEN: Homelessness services are working to keep Alaskans sheltered as statewide cold snap continues

The recent, severe cold weather has turned difficult conditions into life threatening ones. How are shelter managers and others who work to end homelessness grappling with extreme need for those who are most vulnerable during this extended cold snap?

LISTEN: There’s a lot on the table during the next legislative session. State government reporters break down what to look out for.

Next Tuesday, legislators return to Juneau to start the 2020 session. Will the Dunleavy administration and state lawmakers find common ground on how to pay for state services and a permanent fund dividend without draining the Constitutional Budget Reserve?

LISTEN: Senate leadership is here to answer your questions ahead of the 2020 legislative session

Alaska Lawmakers will have a lot on their plates when they convene on January 21st for the start of the legislative session. How will they work to balance spending with less revenue coming in from oil and what amount will they agree to for a permanent fund dividend?

Mel Sather, Alaska broadcasting pioneer, dies at 75

Mel Sather, who built the Anchorage-based Native station KNBA, died Dec. 4 after a long illness.

LISTEN: Spanish flu devastated rural Alaska in 1918. Are we better prepared for a pandemic 100 years later?

The 1918 viral pandemic known as the Spanish flu, killed millions worldwide and devastated rural communities in Alaska. 100 years later, what did pathologists learn from that outbreak and how prepared are we to handle a fast moving infectious disease today?

LISTEN: Eagle River author Marc Cameron returns with new Tom Clancy novel

Eagle River resident and prolific thriller author Marc Cameron juggles three distinct fiction series--his longtime special ops character Jericho Quinn, his new Alaska based series with federal Marshall Arliss Cutter and recently, on November 19th, Cameron released his third Tom Clancy novel, Code of Honor.

LISTEN: The Nov. 30 earthquake, one year later: what did we learn?

It's been a year since the largest earthquake to shake Alaska since 1964 hit the Southcentral region. Even with millions of dollars in destruction happening in seconds, no one was killed. Was it building codes, epicenter location or just luck?

LISTEN: What should the future of Alaska’s government look like? AFN has a few ideas.

The Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention theme last month was Good Government-Alaskan Driven. How does AFN leadership see their role in driving political change and how do they work with tribal leaders to accomplish it?

LISTEN: Southeast’s “extreme drought” is over, but there are still concerns about water conservation

Southeast communities are working to adapt to a problem they never imagined-- drought. This week on Talkf of Alaska we discuss community health, water conservation in a rainforest and the climate model forecasts for the future.

LISTEN: As the Arctic climate warms, the growing season lengthens. Will rural Alaska become more agricultural?

As winter approaches, farmers and gardeners make plans for spring crops. Climate change effects on the growing season in Alaska means new opportunities and challenges for the future. Will residents, even in the arctic, be able to grow enough food for their winter use?

LISTEN: 32 rural Alaska communities still lack running water. Infrastructure builders are trying to change that.

For most Americans, in home running water and flushing toilets are considered basic utilities, but across rural Alaska more than 30 villages are still living without piped systems. What are the challenges of providing water infrastructure to these communities?

LISTEN: How lobbyists shape government in Alaska

Lobbyists are often viewed with skepticism. But many who lobby the local, state and federal government are citizens — often volunteers — who seek better healthcare, improved schools or advocate for policies that address local concerns over clean air and water.