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

LISTEN: How important is removing statues in the larger context of systemic racism?

For many Americans, monuments, statutes and other historical markers are tributes to past figures, but for Native and Black Americans, these relics are painful reminders of racism and colonization. Some want them torn down, others say they should remain with accurate historical context. Is this the right fight?

LISTEN: COVID-19 cases are on the rise as Alaska reopens. How do we slow the spread and maintain our economy?

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Alaska has sharply increased in this month as the economy reopens. What are the factors contributing to the rapid rise and how should state and local government leaders respond to help slow the spread of the virus?

LISTEN: What does it take to ensure human rights across Alaska? A conversation with the Human Rights Commission and state Ombudsman.

Protests demanding equality have rippled across the state and nation in recent weeks. Communities of color and their supporters demand reform of policing, but inequality also exists within many other government agencies and programs that create barriers to social justice.

LISTEN: Is Alaska getting its “fair share” of oil revenue? Ballot measure one seeks to change how oil production is taxed.

Alaska’s economy is built on oil, and a measure going to the ballet box on November 3rd could have a huge impact on the future of oil in the state.

Checking in with state economists as Alaska reopens | Alaska Insight

More than a third of Alaskan workers have applied for unemployment in the last 2 months. With so many Alaskans out of work, how will small businesses survive a summer with little to no tourism? Will CARES Act funding be enough to keep small businesses going?

Balancing municipal budgets during COVID-19 | Alaska Insight

COVID-19 has put a strain on small Alaska communities who rely on seasonal income to stay afloat. What can and should the state do to keep municipal governments strong?

LISTEN: Alaska was coming out of recession when COVID-19 hit. Now the future is more unclear than ever before.

How deep will the downturn be, and what will it take before we can say Alaska’s economy is in recovery? What are the benchmarks and what will state services, employment and Alaska’s business sector look like after so much financial loss?

The challenges of distance education | Alaska Insight

In mid March, students went on spring break, but widespread concern over the coronavirus meant they could not return to their classrooms for the remainder of the spring semester.

LISTEN: Small businesses employ just over half of all Alaskans. How are they fairing as they wait for CARES act funding?

A lawsuits filed against the legislative budget and audit committee says the entire legislature must approve of releasing CARES Act funding to Alaska businesses and municipalities. What happens now and how many more businesses will go under while they wait for help?

Stabilizing Alaska’s economy after COVID-19 | Alaska Insight

https://youtu.be/kmlY-EarhWs Alaska lawmakers have said they need to approve the governor’s plan for sending out federal CARES act funds to Alaska businesses and communities, but are...

LISTEN: Distance education looks different across Alaska. How are students doing?

Many families have low or no internet connection available in their homes, so how well does remote teaching work and what might it portend for the start of classes in the fall?

Re-opening Alaska’s economy | Alaska Insight

https://youtu.be/FlAJOeuTnik Governor Mike Dunleavy began allowing businesses to reopen this week after more than a month of emergency closures. What are the restrictions? How...

LISTEN: Lawmakers discuss stabilizing the economy after COVID-19

Alaska lawmakers have said they need to approve the governor’s plan for sending out federal CARES Act funds to Alaska businesses and communities. They’re considering reconvening in Juneau to do so. Should they?

Take a break from pandemic stress with Alaska artists | Alaska Insight

https://youtu.be/lAOFALj0hwg Social isolation and sheltering in place have disrupted our daily lives, leaving many people anxious and stressed. Musicians and writers join us to help...

LISTEN: Dr. Anne Zink and Gov. Mike Dunleavy discuss reopening the economy on Talk of Alaska

Reopening Alaska's economy is something some Alaskans desperately want while others urge caution as the coronavirus pandemic continues. THow will this work in practice and how do we know it isn’t too soon?

Working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in rural Alaska | Alaska Insight

Limited or no road access means many rural Alaska communities face challenges in delivering health care. With the additional strain COVID-19 is putting on local health care providers,...

LISTEN: Take a break from pandemic stress with some help from Alaska musicians and writers

With the stress of sheltering in our homes and a daily barrage of worrisome news about the global pandemic, it’s important to find time to decompress, relax and find hope for the future.

LISTEN: How is rural Alaska preparing for COVID-19?

With limited clinic and hospital capacity, how are rural Alaska health providers preparing to assist residents who become ill?

The economic implications of the COVID-19 shut downs | Alaska Insight

ISER examined the negative effects of the COVID-19 on Alaska’s economy, and the numbers are stark: there are tens of thousands unemployed, and nearly 2 billion in lost...

LISTEN: What Alaskans’ response to the 1964 earthquake can teach us about approaching crises today.

Journalist and author Jon Mooallem talks with Lori Townsend about his book and what he learned about how Alaskans made it through a day that literally turned their world upside down.